My name is Kathryn Harrison and I recently renewed my commitment as a Bon Secours Associate with others in my local group in a lovely ceremony at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina, where we often gather.
Charleston SC is my home now. It is how I came to be a Bon Secours Associate. Given my age, both are long stories.
Here is the brief version: born in Rhode Island and raised Massachusetts, a “cradle” Catholic, graduated from Rhode Island College, and worked in quality analytics. Lived in RI and married my husband of almost 30 years, Michael. Michael, who is British, went through the RCIA process and became a Catholic. I was allowed to attend with him and a renewed love for my religion grew and blossomed. We moved to the St. Petersburg, FL, area in 2000 to help care for my dad. It was there our lives took a very different path.
We joined Light of Christ Church in Clearwater, FL, and felt like we had finally come “home.” Our pastor and the church welcomed us, not as newcomers, but as long-lost family. While we were in FL, I graduated from the Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute (LPMI) of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. LPMI is a 4-year program for the laity sanctioned by the USCCB. I loved every minute of it! So, thus began my journey into ministry.
The first step on this journey was working with Catholic Charities helping churches develop Senior ministry programs, then working with a USCCB program for displaced refugees, and finally working with the HIV/AIDS populations. I moved on to working as director of Senior Outreach Ministry for a Catholic Church and then to the pastoral care department of a local Catholic hospital. The Director of Pastoral Care, a priest, became a good friend and mentor. It is his doing that I ended up in Charleston, SC, working in the Mission Department of Roper St. Francis Healthcare. My office was located at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital
Life moves slowly in Charleston and, true to form, it took our Associate group a couple of years to become what it is today. While I’ve moved on from St. Francis Hospital, I remain deeply committed to the Sisters of Bon Secours and the Associates. Our group keeps me centered on what is important in life. Without them, and their collective wisdom, I would not have the prayerful, spiritual life that I have now. We pray together in a way that binds us to God, to the Sisters of Bon Secours, to the Associates, to each other, and to the world. If I might quote from Mère Angélique Geay, “I see that you are very hasty and impetuous and you wish that you would not have these very natural feelings. But that is not possible. As long as you are in this world, my child, you will have to struggle with your faults. You must accept yourself as you are, and to do this, you must ask God to fill you with His Spirit through prayers and meditation.”
So, this is my new life as a Bon Secours Associate.