“It is a privilege to engage and be brought into a patient’s life. Also, to be able to extend a word of support during such a vulnerable, overwhelming and often scary time,” Mark Mendizabal shares.
Mark is one of our chaplains and serves at Hospice of Bon Secours Richmond. He not only makes visits to his patients in the hospital but also ventures out in the community to see patients and their families.
“Hospice has been a meaningful experience for me,” Mark shares. “I like the personal, long-standing relationships I get to build with others. Because a lot of my patients are bed-bound, I have enjoyed adding music and singing as a source of strength and comfort.”
In fact, one of Mark’s recent patients hardly spoke during their times together. However, Mark introduced music during one visit and the patient suddenly burst into song.
“After that moment, he opened up and started talking to me. He even recited entire speeches he had apparently memorized in his past, including the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream.”
Mark acknowledges that if it wasn’t for his job, he may not otherwise have met or interacted with most of his patients.
“I see the opportunity to step into their lives and space as an absolute honor and privilege. I’m grateful to be able to extend words of support or encouragement … to help relieve guilt, remorse, regrets and fear as well as to promote peace and assurance.”
Mark began working as a chaplain in 2007 and has worked in health care ever since. This month marks his third year in our hospice department. From the start of his undergrad education, Mark knew he wanted to be a chaplain.
“Bon Secours has been very helpful and supportive of my growth as a chaplain. The ministry has also helped keep me current on innovative ways to serve,” Mark shares.
Mark became board certified while working with us, and the experience he went through to do that included a lot of self-reflection.
“It’s a lot of heartfelt work. You must be mindful and self-aware of not only others but yourself.”
Mark also adds, “I believe I am equipped and empowered by Bon Secours as a chaplain. This enables me to be effective in my service.”