Sister Mary Jane didn’t have many reservations about going to live in Carrico Hall at Nazareth, in fact, she worked every day to get there following a major health incident.
When she broke her pelvis, Sister Mary Jane did not know if she would ever gain back her independence. But she worked every day in rehab to meet her goals. In order to complete her rehabilitation and get to Carrico, she needed to be mobile, able to get out of her wheelchair and use a walker.
She wanted to get back to Nazareth, and that kept her motivated. She said she has always been very connected to Nazareth, even throughout her ministry years. She recommends any Sister making a major move due to aging or health-related issues get familiar with her new surroundings, and make visits, before moving in.
As she worked her way back to health, Sister Mary Jane kept improving and getting stronger. “I was so surprised that I could do what I could. After I got used to the walker, it was a new independence, getting out of that wheelchair. I got so much better than I ever thought I would. I just kept working at it.”
And all her hard work was worth it. She is now able to attend Mass daily, getting there on her own with the aid of her walker. “It’s much better than watching it on TV. When I’m there I can stand up and sit down. Now I watch from the balcony but I’m hoping to get back in the choir and back in the pew.”
Moving to Carrico Hall did have its challenges. One thing, she notes, was the change in her health care providers. Realizing, with the commute, it would take all day for an appointment in Louisville, Sister Mary Jane made the hard decision to change both her doctor and dentist to local providers. “We had become friends, so that was difficult.”
She said it is both a blessing and a challenge being around so many helpful Sisters and staff. The comforting support of those around her is life-giving and almost too much! “If you struggle the Sisters will rush to your aid,” she laughed.
Now in her late 80s, Sister Mary Jane recalls once asking her 95 year old mother: “Do you feel old?” Her mother replied, “On the outside ‘yes’ but on the inside I feel young.” Sister Mary Jane said, “I think that’s what we call our Spirit.”
Many people in Sister Mary Jane’s family have lived very long lives, including her aunt and namesake who live to be 108. She expects to have many more life-giving days. And she is happy just as she is. She loves her surroundings and is proud of the work she did to get out of the wheelchair and up with a walker, which is now just an extension of herself.
“I dream. And in my dreams at night, I have my walker.”