Q. What do the Hawthorne Dominicans do? A. They provide nursing care for incurable cancer patients who cannot afford care.
Q. And by "cannot afford," you mean...? A. I mean the Hawthorne Dominicans only take patients who don't have adequate Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or private funds to cover basic nursing care.
Q. Are there that many incurable cancer patients who cannot afford care? A. There are enough in the U.S. to fill five homes, with waiting lists. And if you open a mission in Kenya, as the Sisters did last November, there are plenty more.
Q. But in the U.S., if the patients can't afford it, the government must cover the cost of care, yes? A. No.
Q. No? A. No. There's no government money. There's no private insurance money. There's no money from the patients or their families. (Well, maybe a hundred bucks from the family, if they insist.)
Q. Then who--? A. The Sisters rely on Divine Providence to supply them with what they need. After all, they're caring for God's children; why wouldn't He provide?
Q. That's a very noble thought, spiritually speaking, but it's not terribly practical, is it? A. Sorry, did you just ask whether relying on God is impractical?
Q. No, but, it just seems, being dependent on fundraising and all-- A. Who said anything about fundraising?
Q. Didn't you just say that's how the Hawthorne Dominicans get their money? A. No, I said they rely on Divine Providence. They don't rely on fundraising. They don't do fundraising at all. (They did once, about a hundred years ago, to raise money to buy a larger home in New York City. But Mother Alphonsa, the foundress, wasn't happy about it and stopped it after a few months, long before enough money was raised.)
Q. So they just count on God moving enough hearts to write enough checks to pay this month's bills? A. Pretty much. Keep in mind what they're doing, though. Most human hearts don't have to be moved too far to feel compassion for people who are poor and dying and admiration toward those who care for them. From there, it's a small step to supporting the Hawthorne Dominicans' work with a (perhaps modest) check, payable to
The Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne Rosary Hill Home 600 Linda Avenue Hawthorne, NY 10532
I have to think, too, that the Sisters' prayers on behalf of their patients are heard loud and clear before the Throne of God.
Q. Anything else while we're on this topic? A. Oh, I could go on, and I may yet, but for now I'll just mention that, if any single Catholic women are thinking God might be calling them to a life devoted to works of mercy, there's a vocation discernment weekend coming up in October at the Motherhouse in Hawthorne, NY, and they might contact the vocation director for more information.