Living the Mission: Kyle Obendorf

Friday, May 17, 2024

BSVM is highlighting different alumni each month of this 25th year of ministry, letting them share how their lived experience reflects the charism and mission of the Sisters of Bon Secours even years after their time with BSVM concluded. Each alum has been marked by stories of compassion, healing, and liberation from their community and ministry placements, and their lives now reflect aspects of their growth and transformation, from informing how and where they work to decisions related to neighborhood placement, community life, and more. We are grateful for their continued faithfulness in being Good Help wherever they find themselves.

Living the Mission
By Kyle Obendorf (BSVM 2012-2013)
A Graduate of the University of Notre Dame

It has been over 10 years since I volunteered in the Baltimore Emergency Department, where I had the opportunity to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and look after the sick. During that time, I experienced Learning through Service with Others, one of the pillars of BSVM. But just as important was the emphasis on Growing Spiritually through prayer, reflection, and retreats, although I did not see it at the time.

Jesus said we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). We cannot truly serve our neighbor without loving God first. At times I wondered if it was really worth it to miss time volunteering to pray or go on retreat, but I slowly learned how important those activities were, and I came back rejuvenated and better able to care for patients in the Emergency Department after time spent in prayer and reflection. My time at Bon Secours was a vital step in the lifelong process of growing in faith. I began to reflect back on my journey when I had the opportunity to be a sponsor for a candidate to enter the Catholic Church this past Easter. We were strangers before RCIA began, but I had the privilege of walking with him through the process of going to classes and working through tough theological questions while growing in my own faith.

Much of the time was spent going over the nuts and bolts of what we believe and why we believe it. During those classes we discussed how our good works flow from the grace God gives us, and how important the sacraments are in staying grounded in Christ. As the priests and other sponsors shared their knowledge and stories, I saw how God had worked in each of their lives to bring about astounding results in the face of tremendous hardship and even persecution. The energy that the candidates and catechumens brought during each week invigorated and inspired me, and I learned more from them than I thought possible.

After my time at Bon Secours, I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), then went to school and became a Physician Assistant. In that time, I have experienced periods of burnout and immense frustration during my career. When that happens, the temptation is to turn inward on myself and my limitations. My RCIA experience taught me not to rely on my own strength, but to renew my strength in Christ through prayer and the sacraments. Mass has taken on more meaning as I have a renewed reverence for the Eucharist, and regular confession allows me to experience God’s mercy when I inevitably fall short. It is tempting to focus on the daily checklist of what I must do each day at work and at home, but since going through RCIA I make it a priority to pray throughout the day and read daily scripture. This helps me to refocus and allow God to work through me to better serve others.

There is always an excuse to miss Mass, shorten prayer, or neglect confession. But I have now seen the fruits that God provides when my focus is on Him. I have more patience, less anxiety, and more peace when troubles arise. Jesus calls us to a life of service. My Bon Secours experience highlighted the work that needs to be done, and RCIA reminded me to keep my foundation in Christ. I pray that God continues to work through all of us in the BSVM community to do His will, and to grow closer to Him in the service of our fellow brother and sister.

Kyle with colleagues at his Ministry Site (Emergency Department, Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital)

Ryan with his BSVM 2012-2013 community