By Barbara Bartlein
From the time I was four years old, I announced to anyone who asked, “When
I grow up, I’m going to be a nurse.” My parents tried
to nurture this dream. They would surprise me with little nurse’s
kits. Contained in a small plastic case latched at the top was all
the equipment needed to be a nurse: a thermometer permanently marked
to 98.6, a pill bottle filled with candy (which would be gone in
two hours), a stethoscope that didn’t work and, best of all,
I loved that syringe. I would spend hours filling it up with water
and “injecting” my little sister. I would “inject”
the family dog and a very reluctant cat. No other single function
represented nursing to me as well as giving injections. To me, giving
shots was the epitome of what nurses do.
You can imagine my excitement, therefore, when we reached the part
of my nurses’ training where we learned injections. I studied
the techniques carefully and practiced on peaches. I practiced so
much that the fruit at my house had little water blisters all over
that looked like scabies. I participated in the “return demonstration”
with my fellow nursing students. I always claimed that my partner’s
injection was painless so that she would make a similar claim when
it was my turn.
The following week, I began my emergency room rotation at Penrose
Hospital in Colorado Springs. One day, a handsome, tanned construction
worker was admitted with a large laceration on his right arm. About
six feet, five inches tall, 250 pounds, he had huge muscles and
a grin to match. “I just sliced this a little with some sheet
metal, Ma’am,” he reported. He lay on the exam table
while the doctor sutured him with a dozen stitches. He listened
intently while the doctor gave instructions for wound care.
And then the magical moment occurred. The doctor turned to me and
said, “Nurse Bartlein, would you please give this gentleman
a tetanus shot?” My big chance! A real injection on a real
patient. I practically floated on air as I scrambled to the refrigerator
and took out the tetanus vaccine. I carefully drew up the prescribed
amount and returned to the patient. I meticulously swabbed the site
with an alcohol wipe and then expertly darted that needle deep into
the deltoid muscle. I aspirated as taught and slowly injected the
With a grin, the construction worker said, “Thank you, Ma’am”
and stood up. I winked at him, and he winked at me. He stood there
for a minute and promptly crumpled to the floor unconscious. Oh,
my God, I killed him! My first injection and I killed the patient.
My impulse was to run out the door as far into the mountains as
possible. Forget about being a nurse, forget about injections, I’ll
live off the land. No one will ever find me.
Everyone else came running and slowly helped the patient to his
feet. The doctor could see that I was quite shaken. He reassured
me with a smile and said, “Don’t worry, he’s fine.
The big ones always faint!”
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OF THE SAINTS
ST. EDMUND CAMPION
St. Edmund lived in the sixteenth century. He was a very popular young English student who was a great speaker.
St. Bibiana's father Flavian had been prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary, was born at Xavier Castle in Spain in 1506.
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE
St. John lived in the eighth century. He was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian family
St. Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine.
St. Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving.
St. Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY
Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously.
BLESSED JUAN DIEGO
St. Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him.
ST. JOHN ROBERTS
St. John was born in Wales in 1577. Although he was not a Catholic, he was taught by an elderly priest.
ST. DAMASUS I
ST. Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
We celebrate the event of Mary's appearances on Tepyac Hill in Mexico.
St. Lucy, the beloved saint, lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century.
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS
St. John was born in Spain in 1542. He was the son of a weaver.
St. Nino was a Christian girl who lived in the fourth century.
St. Adelaide was born in 931. At the age of sixteen, this Burgundian princess was married to King Lothair.
St. Olympias was born around the year 361. She belonged to a great family of Constantinople.
St. Flannan lived around the seventh century. He was the son of an Irish chieftain named Turlough. Flannan was educated by the monks.
BLESSED URBAN V
Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard.
ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS
St. Dominic, a Spanish shepherd boy, was born at the beginning of the eleventh century.
ST. PETER CANISIUS
ST. Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer.
ST. CHAEREMON AND ST. ISCHYRION AND OTHER MARTYRS
The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church.
ST. JOHN OF KANTY
St. John, the Polish saint, was born in 1390, the son of good country folk.
ST. MARGUERITE D'YOUVILLE
St. Marguerite was born in Quebec, Canada, on October 15, 1701.
St. Charbel was born Youssef Makhlouf on May 8, 1828, in a mountain village in Lebanon.
CHRISTMAS, THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS
The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us.
St. Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown.
ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE
St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle.
THE HOLY INNOCENTS
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him.
ST. THOMAS BECKET
St. Thomas Becket was born in 1118, in London, England.
St. Anysia lived in Thessalonica toward the end of the second century.
St. Sylvester dates back to early Christian times, to the reign of Constantine.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?