By: Maureen Burge, CLC
When it came time for Nahant’s Maggie Smith and Judith Rotiroti to retire back in 2011, they knew they wanted to volunteer but weren’t quite sure where it would lead them. They thought they may volunteer with children having had careers as elementary school teachers for many years but then one day they were out for a walk on Market Street and stumbled upon All Care VNA and Hospice. They decided to go in and it was there that they learned about hospice volunteering and they never looked back.
For Maggie and Judith, their friendship began 48 years ago in the novitiate for the Corpus Christi Carmelites in Gloucester. They served in that community until its dissolution in 1972. They then transferred to Sisters for Christian Community; a non-canonical group of women. They devoted their careers to helping professions including teaching elementary school children and spending their latter part of their careers working in the hospital setting supporting patients and their families through the registration process.
Whether it is from young students in the classroom or patients at end-of-life, Maggie and Judith, being the good teachers they are, have learned from early on that they are students themselves learning life’s lessons as they encountered each student they taught or each patient they’ve companioned. Through volunteering, they’ve learned to have patience with the process, that there’s always time to extend love and how to laugh in the face of illness and loneliness and death. Smith and Rotiroti share, “Since the early days, we have met so many beautiful beings, patients and workers, each a particular messenger, reminding us that as we give, we receive.”
As with their friendship, Maggie and Judith enjoy visiting their patients together. When asked how their friendship influences what they do they share, “Our friendship “fuels” everything we do. Due to this awesome gift, our joys are doubled and our grief is divided. We are sustained by daily meditation and walks in nature which provide communion with Divine Presence and help us become more aware of our unity with all of creation.”
For Maggie and Judith, “Hospice has influence far beyond what we see and report. Like our own bodies, we never see our hearts, lungs or other organs and systems that move us about in this life, yet we know they are operating perfectly. This is the blessing of hospice, knowing that all are working together performing the work we are meant to do. How awesome to join this orchestra and add our instruments to the symphony created.”
For more information on how to become a hospice volunteer or to register for the next training class, contact Maureen Burge, All Care Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, at 781-244-1129 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.