Soul Compass at CatholicCare Social Services

Sr Kim Barnes rsj is the chaplain at CatholicCare Social Services, based at Mayfield. She is the first chaplain at CatholicCare and sees her role as one that is evolving and will continue to evolve. 

“For me, chaplaincy is about being with others in their need and in doing so personifying the love, care and compassion of Jesus. “I am not a counsellor or a therapist, but aim to be a ‘presence’; to listen and respect, to be non-judgemental, to be discreet and caring and to be with people both in times of joy and times of pain. I also see my role as one of service.

“Since I began at CatholicCare twelve months ago, I have supported both staff and clients. I have regular clients I visit, some of whom have been referred to me by managers and staff, and some from incoming phone calls. I visit nursing homes and hospitals, as well as rehabilitation hospitals and people in their homes. From time to time, on Friday afternoons, after Oz Harvest makes its delivery of food to be distributed to those in need, I help other staff prepare food parcels for the Community Care Van. I offer support, when necessary, to the disability homes, attend funerals, have phone contact with people and attend several meetings. I have provided prayer and reflection for staff for special celebrations, meetings and just recently have begun to offer a monthly prayer and reflection.

I see my role as a calling – not a job. It is a great honour and a privilege to walk alongside and be a companion with someone at a particular stage of their life’s journey,” said Sr Kim.

Sr Kim is highly valued by the staff of CatholicCare.

“Sr Kim has been an amazing addition to CatholicCare. Her positivity and incredible sense of calm, and fun, are infectious. I have witnessed the change in people around me, just by having someone that they can readily seek out when they need spiritual guidance or when they just want someone who genuinely wants to listen. I find her an angel in disguise – she is our soul compass,” said staff member, Pamela Wastell.

Article originally featured in the Diocesan Year in Review 2015

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Joanne Isaac

Joanne is a Communications Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular columnist for Aurora Magazine.