Children’s hospital chaplain Bernice Gotelli, PBVM, told graduates of the Jesuit School of Theology that they are doing God’s work when they demonstrate compassion.
“Compassion is not a pat on the back or an assurance that all will be well. Real compassion is an attempt to understand what is going on in a person’s life, and to share that.” So says Bernice Gotelli, PBVM, a member of the Sisters of the Presentation community of women religious. She delivered the commencement address at the Jesuit School of Theology in May. Sister Bernice knows whereof she speaks. For more than a quarter century she has served as chaplain of Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, offering pastoral care for critically ill and dying children and their families. Students from JST work with her there. One student has sat with a lonely child in isolation, watching SpongeBob cartoons. Another sat at the bed of a newly blind teen and read his favorite book to him. “Let their presence show the family that God will not allow them to go through their pain and grief without God’s presence,” she said.