October 19, 2021

A Pilot Projekt: Conference for Nursing Staff and Caregivers

Sister Petra-Maria Huber

“If the sisters look at you with radiant eyes, you did everything correctly!”

said an employee of our nurses‘ stations to a co-worker in a group discussion.

 A Pilot Project

 For the first time, a conference for the nursing staff and caregivers on the nursing teams of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary took place from Oktober 5-7, 2021 in Schoenstatt, Vallendar. Fourteen employees and seven Sisters of Mary attended the pilot project. Two of the sisters are members of a provincial council and thus represented the agency responsible for our facility in a special way. The other five sisters are responsible within their community for the continuing education of sisters in the nursing profession.

“Because you are precious and valuable in my eyes.”

On the first evening, Sr. Gisela-Maria Mues, a member of the general government of our community, gave a short introduction to the spirituality of Schoenstatt and to the covenant of love of October 18, 1914. In a meditation, she elaborated on the words of Scripture: “Because you are precious and valuable in my eyes.” With this phrase she wanted to emphasize especially how valuable and important our employees are for our community.

The next morning, mutual exchange among the participants increased. Each employee could state what motivates her to do her work, the challenges she faces, and questions and wishes she brought with her. It became clear that much is the same in the different facilities. The conclusion:

The Sisters of Mary are a family.

In a further step, the participants looked at the “Mission Statement for Employees in the Nursing Facilities of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.” Filling this mission statement with life was a special concern of the conference. Among other things, the mission statement includes our image of the human person and our concept of nursing. The term quality of life and how we can maintain and promote it in the infirm and elderly sisters received particular attention in our considerations.

Pedagogical Guiding Stars for Nurses

In the afternoon, the following pedagogical guiding stars were worked through in small groups: pedagogy of ideals, pedagogy of trust, covenant pedagogy, pedagogy of attachments, and pedagogy of organisms. From the beginning, Father Kentenich, the founder of the international Schoenstatt Work and of our community, followed these pedagogical guiding stars in his leadership and education of others. It is exciting to consider these guiding stars in the nursing process, because nursing is a shared journey, a dialogical process in which nurses are also learners who are inspired and moved by their environment and those they care for.

That They Take Such Good Care of his Sisters

 The morning closed with an “Oasis Time” in the shrine, and the afternoon with a leisurely walk on Mount Schoenstatt that included a visit to the Adoration Church and the Founder Chapel. When the participants of the conference were gathered at the resting place of Father Kentenich, one sister commented that certainly he would thank the employees that they “take such good care of the sisters.” Each participant could take a small card with words of our founder on it and in this way be personally addressed by him and encouraged. A joyful evening rounded out the packed day. Just as on the previous evening, some of the participants met in the inviting cafeteria of the Marienland Conference Center to close the day with a joyful get-together and lively exchange.

A Guiding Star to Take Home

The next moring there was a review. The round of feedback clearly showed that there was the wish for a conference like this every year. The employees—who could not attend because the work in the nursing facilities had to continue—should also have the possibility to receive the same further training. The desire for continued training was obvious; the themes teamwork, dementia, and palative care/end-of-life care were expressed multiple times. Thus–the review made it clear—all were inspiried to bring the mission statement to their respecitive facility. As a symbol for this, the representives of the respective facilities (Friedrichroda, Borken, Koblenz-Metternich, Kösching, and der Liebfrauenhöhe) took home a “Guiding Star.”