A Call to Chaplaincy
I started Sacred Body Healing Arts in 2010, teaching yoga and meditation, leading workshops and retreats, working one on one with individuals for healing, spiritual nurture and direction. I am naturally empathic and sensitive, using intuition and deep listening to help people feel better, have more peace, ease, and calm. It has been through this work of being present to people in these ways that affirmed my work in this world as a loving presence to others.
When I was 15 years old, my boyfriend’s mother got sick with recurrent breast cancer. (This boyfriend later became my husband and partner of 20 years). I worked with her at her pizza restaurant, The Pizza Stop and we became very close. When she got sick, I became one of her primary caregivers until she took her last breath. I was with her in most of my spare time outside of school and my own family. I would stay the night with her and help with all her needs. I loved being with her and the experience and process of it never scared me. I was able to be with her and care for her and her family. I hold the process of being with her as a sacred time. The intimacy, care, and connection was unlike anything I had experienced. She was helping me and I was helping her. After she passed I looked into hospice work but because my grief was still too fresh, I needed to wait and come back later. Through my work as a yoga and meditation teacher, I have also walked alongside others as they are transitioning from life, providing a calming and soothing presence, loving them as they transition into home.
After recently returning home from a silent retreat at the Cedars of Peace in Kentucky, a place I have been going to for the last few years. I had a vision of sitting beside the bedside of sick people. I felt a longing in my heart and felt myself drawn to children going through cancer and other illnesses, providing opportunity for prayer, meditation, attention, comfort, laughter and presence. The next morning I woke up thinking I needed to look into hospice chaplaincy. Although this was not something I would have imagined for myself, I felt much peace with this vision and the call to chaplaincy. I had been searching over the last few years for a calling, a deeper purpose, and ways to connect and work with the underprivileged and marginalized populations. I considered social work, but it didn't seem to fit. When this vision came it all felt completely right and I didn't question it. I just began researching this possibility, and in my research, beautiful connections to current chaplains, schools, programs, and students were made. The doors to chaplaincy feel wide open and I am walking through them with faith that the path will lead me where I need to go.
I will be considered a non-traditional student, as I am nearly 45 years old, looking to start a new path. I did not graduate with a bachelor's degree after graduating from high school. I spent a year and half at Ball State University, but felt I wanted to be closer to home to care for Cathy and I also felt a desire to go to school for hairdressing. I have spent the last 25 years of my life as a hairdresser, yoga and meditation teacher, and a mom to a growing young boy.
After doing much research to see what the requirements would be to be a hospice chaplain and looking into different programs and schools, I realized it would take a Masters degree. I was disheartened until I found the Earlham School of Religion, in Richmond, Indiana just two hours away from Bloomington, who has a Masters in Divinity program and considers life experience in their application process for potential MDiv students. I went through the application process and was accepted into the program as of recently. I was also granted the cooper scholarship which pays full tuition. WOOHOO!!! This was such a surprise and wholeheartedly met with much gratitude. The scholarship will require me to be on campus a day or two a week, commuting 4 hours there and back and also requires some community service hours. With being a single mom, a hairdresser, and yoga/meditation teacher, I will need to adjust the pace and scale that I am currently working. I would love to be able to focus as much as I can on my studies and being a mom. All of this work right now has afforded me to be very present to Ryder and I have been so grateful for this. It has often meant a financial toll at times, but our relationship feels of utmost importance to me, so it outweighs financial decisions at times.
I plan to do the work of hospice chaplaincy after graduating from the MDiv program and completing my CPE’s. In the program, I wish to deepen my spiritual practice and focus, and knowledge of Love and God. I’m looking forward to studying, reading, writing, sharing, being in community, sitting with the questions and listening for the answers. I wish to grow in ways that will help me to be present and loving to others while they are suffering, in transition or in need of care and support. I wish to learn in community how to move through differences and conflict, to have greater comfort with this as it comes up in the work of chaplaincy and service to others.
I am writing today in the hopes you might consider offering a donation to help offset financial burdens during this three to five year program. I would greatly appreciate either a choice to financially sponsor me for a semester or simply give a small or large donation to help with my living expenses and get me through this time of my life, so that I may serve with less financial burden coming through on the other side of this.
*My living expenses monthly are around $2500.
(That's about $12,500 a 5 month semester.)
*My semester fees are not included in the scholarship and they are around
$650 a semester.
*There are also two 2-week intensives that I am required to be on campus for that don’t pay for housing, food or travel expenses.
This will cost around $500-750 for each two week intensive.
Anything will help.
I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read and consider this.
Thank you for being here and offering anything you are able.
With great love and appreciation,