"Are you real nuns?"
The question was common since it’s been about a decade since people have seen nuns as nurses in the Christus Schumpert Hospitals. But this year a group of Indian sisters joined the staff.
Wearing white habits and speaking in the soothing tones of women devoted to God, the sisters at the Catholic hospitals are now more likely to be compared to angels rather than ghosts.
"Families are very comforted," said Sister Suny Augustine. "They believe in prayer and we can see they feel better."
Seven of the sisters arrived in Shreveport in March, and after going through months of paperwork and taking English proficiency tests to get licences, some are officially working on the floors of the various hospitals run by Christus.
All of them were nurses in southern India, but here they work in a variety of capacities, some as nurses and technicians and one in spiritual care.
So far, the sisters have been well received by both patients and staff, said Betsy Williams, director of spiritual care at St. Mary Place.
"She has such a good attitude," charge nurse Debra Sutton said of Augustine, a nurse at Highland Hospital. "She gave up family and home to come to a foreign country for her church. She never refuses to take extra work. When things get bad, she’ll slip down the hall and go to the chapel."
Many patients just like seeing them in the habits, which many orders have long abandoned.
"The patients see a certain security and safety with (the sisters)," Williams said.
"They know they’re going to be taken care of anyway, but there’s something there I can’t describe." [Source]