Sister Carmel Marie (Sallows), CSC, has seen firsthand how hospice can make a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families. Touched personally by the hospice care provided to her mother and sister by dedicated staff and volunteers, Sister Carmel committed herself to this ministry of compassionate care.
“My mother died in 1997, and I was just so warmed by the attentiveness of the hospice staff,” she says. “I made a pledge to my mother that I would give back as a volunteer in appreciation. Since that day in 1997, I have kept that promise.”
Sharing love and comfort
For more than 22 years, Sister Carmel has volunteered nearly every day at the Mishawaka, Indiana-based Center for Hospice Care (CFHC). Since 1980, CFHC has helped patients and their loved ones face the end of life in the best way possible, providing comfort and eliminating pain. In her volunteer role, Sister Carmel visits patients and their families almost every week. She listens and prays with them, but most importantly, she is present for whatever their needs may be. Sister Carmel’s main goal is sharing love and comfort. She has also worked with grieving children at weekend camps, conducted home visitations with suffering families and helped with fundraising for the CFHC.
In 2007 Sister Carmel was awarded the John E. Krueger, M.D., Hospice Caring Award. In 2018 the CFHC presented the Helping Hands Award to Sister Carmel and established a fund in her name: the Sister Carmel Helping Hands Fund. This fund aids those who do not have the financial means to receive the treatment, medication and services needed at the end of life.
Hospice Helping Hands Fund
“I am so honored to have the Hospice Helping Hands Fund named in my honor, knowing that no one, regardless of their ability to pay, will be turned away. As a Sister of the Holy Cross, it is especially meaningful to me because we have always had a ‘preferential option for the poor,’” Sister Carmel said upon receiving the Helping Hands Award.
This year Sister Carmel was awarded Ministry With the Poor funds to help extend CFHC’s outreach in the South Bend, Indiana, community. As for her more than two decades of ministering with hospice patients, Sister Carmel says, “I am humbled. I don’t count my years; it seems like a short time but a very good time. I will continue volunteering as long as I am able.”