1st Annual Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy Conference

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A lapel pin with the image of The Divine Mercy on it. A stack of prayercards that explain how to pray the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. A few spare rosaries.

These are among the tools of Debbie Slavin's trade.

Each day, when she begins her shift in the emergency department of Miriam Hospital, in Providence, R.I., she is armed and merciful.

A registered nurse, Debbie is a member of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. The apostolate was founded in 2001 by a Marian Helper, Marie Romagnano, RN, a nurse case manager from Charlton, Mass.

What does being a member of this apostolate mean for Debbie? Many things — professionally, spiritually, and socially.

First, professionally: Like thousands of well-educated, modern-minded doctors, nurses, social workers, and therapists worldwide who have joined Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, Debbie incorporates spiritual care with medical care. Specifically, through training from the Marians, she has learned to serve as a spiritual link to Jesus — to become His merciful presence at the bedside of her patients, many of who are dying or suffering serious or terminal illnesses.

She does this through praying — for them and sometimes with them — the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, a powerful intercessory prayer given to St. Faustina by Christ Himself. She also gives away rosaries to anyone who wants them .

Her work hasn't gone unnoticed. In June, she was named Employee of the Month at Miriam Hospital, which, by the way, is a secular hospital.

A few hours before she was to be presented with the award, she realized the hour at which the presentation was to occur: 3 o'clock — the Hour of Great Mercy, when Christ died on the cross. In a speech before her peers, she spoke of the significance of the Hour of Great Mercy. She spoke of how she was called to deeds of mercy, to be Christ's "hands and feet" in a hurting world.

"Rather than looking at what I have done," she told her peers, "I say, 'Thanks be to God for what He does through people like me.'"

Spiritually, what being a member of the Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy means for Debbie is having the opportunity to become more spiritually fit.

In 2005, she was urged by a friend to attend the annual Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy Conference in Worcester, Mass. She said "yes," and has been saying "yes" to The Divine Mercy ever since.

"The more you say 'yes,'" says Debbie, of Pawtucket, R.I., a mother of two grown sons, "the more this all takes a life of its own."

She has also taken the advice of the spiritual director of the apostolate, Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, who has urged members to mature in their own faith so that they may better serve others.

As a result, Debbie has made the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Mass., her "spiritual home." She attends spiritual retreats and the conferences. She's also joined the Marians Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. And she regularly draws inspiration from the St. Faustina's Diary — which chronicles the Polish nun's revelations. Through St. Faustina, Jesus Christ calls upon us to trust in Him, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others.

"I felt that these things put me in line with the Marians' spirituality," Debbie says, "and that's what I truly wanted."

Working in an atmosphere often marked by tragedy, anxiety, and fear — that is to say, in the emergency room in a major metropolitan area — Debbie has become a merciful presence for many. In return, she says, the graces keep coming.

For instance, she recently was informed that the Most Rev. George H. Pearce, S.M., the former archbishop of Suva, Fiji, who assisted the Marians in the English translation of St. Faustina's Diary, was recuperating from surgery in her hospital. She paid him a visit. She prayed for him by his bedside. For comfort, she left him with an image of The Divine Mercy. She leaves such images with others, too.

"The people I work with know when I've been around," Debbie says with a laugh.

As for socially, Debbie has met many like-minded healthcare professionals — and many admirers of the apostolate. A stranger recently approached her during her shift, saw her lapel pin, and gasped "You're one of them!"

The stranger was impressed.

"We have to live this message of The Divine Mercy," Debbie says. "That's what Jesus wants from us. Everyday. Everywhere. We need to be vessels of Divine Mercy."

Learn more about Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy and how you can join this growing Marian apostolate.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Cristina - Mar 5, 2014

I worked with Deb for a few years as a nurse's aide in the ER. I have to say that she is one of the most kind, loving and caring nurses. I would want her to be my nurse if I was in that ER. Perhaps they do laugh at you Deb, but who cares. The impression you leave, the wonderful patient care given through your work and spirituality as well as compassion is not to be denied. And that counts for so much more than you could ever know. Blessings (I am not Catholic myself, but just love Deb's wonderful spirit!)

deb pawtucket, r.i. - Jan 12, 2010

thank you for the prayers, recently, I have drawn upon them. Some people are angry, and I had recently been told, we laugh at you, and you keep going, but, if I had a patient who needed prayer, I would immediately look for you. I ask for prayer to be brave enough to be a witness, when it is easy, and especially when it is difficult, to move forward, asking for the grace to do his will. please continue to pray. The corner has been turned, someone asked me, "why don't you just do pastoral care?", and I told her, I do, this is not something with a little compartment, the Merciful Lord is in everything I do, being laughed at, or ridiculed, I thought about our Priests and Religious, and their witness, and was grateful to be at the foot of the cross,not to abandon, or move away.
I thank the Marians, as they assist all of us with our growth, and love of the Lord. Run to Our Lady, she will be your health and your protection, she will guide you to the love of the Merciful Lord, caring for you, as the loving mother that she is. Allow the Merciful Rays to penetrate you, so you may be his hands and feet in the world.
in Mary Immaculate,

martin escoto - Nov 29, 2009

May the Lord always provide you with strength and courage in spreading God's mercy!

s - Nov 18, 2009

The students have passed the examinations. Thank you St.Faustina, Apostle of Divine Mercy, for your intercession.

Good JESUS, change our lives to be fragrant prayers.

Maria P. (Canada) - Nov 15, 2009

Thank you Felix for the inspirational article. My prayer is that this ministry begins in my parish as there are many beautiful parishioners that are in the medical field. Many blessings and graces to all the healthcare professionals that have a heart for Divine Mercy--Life's answer. Mother Mary, pray for us.

s - Nov 9, 2009

Please for a student for divine guidance and grace in practical examinations on 10th and 11th Nov. and very important viva voce on 12th November. To love is to trust and to be an instrument of Divine Mercy. St. Faustina, Apostle of Divine Mercy pray for us.

prayer recited by Nurses, and other Healthcare professionals for Divine Mercy - Nov 5, 2009

Act of Consecration to Jesus, the Divine Mercy.
Most Merciful Lord Jesus, Your goodness is endless, and the Treasury of your graces is inexhaustible. I trust without limits in your mercy, which is above all your works.
I offer myself to you totally and without reservations, to strive towards Christian perfection and to live under the shelter of the rays which flowed from your divine heart on the cross. I desire to spread your mercy by performing deeds of mercy both for the soul as well as the body, especially by concern for the conversion of sinners, by bringing comfort to those in need of help, to the sick and the dejected, by praying for the dying and the souls suffering in prugatory.
You however, protect me as your property and glory, for I am afraid of everything due to my weakness, but at he same time, I expect everything from your mercy. Let all humankind come to know the iimmeasurable depth of your mercy, place its trust in it, and extol it for endless ages. Amen.
All through the intercession of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, may she be our health and our protection.

Mary - Nov 5, 2009

Ihave read the article.and find this is true,put your trust in the lord, and your best heaking is jesus.and i know this is true, and Fr kaz is doing a great job , god bless him and other priests should do the same with him this job, prayers are for all the marians.felix your a very good writer love your work god love you and bless you

debbie slavin pawtucket rhode island - Nov 4, 2009

Dear Felix,
thank you for putting into words some of the work of the Apostolate. There are many men and women, with their own stories, each responding to the Lord's call in what ever way they are able.
There are people I work with, who will seek me out to see one of their patients, in their own way they bring the Merciful Lord, to the bedside, through the people around them.
What a privilage, to pray with and for those in physical, emotional or spiritual pain. I think of what Fr. Benedict Groeschel said at our last nursing conference, "are you brave enough to be catholic?" I pray the intercession of Our Lady will give me the grace when it is easy, and especially when it is difficult.
in Christ, the Divine Mercy,

Mary Kay Volpone, Marian Helpers Center, Stockbridge - Nov 4, 2009

Thanks for sharing your witness so others may have the courage to witness to their faith especially in the healthcare industry today. We need more "Angels of Mercy" like you! May Our Lady always guide you and protect you.