Many of our regular readers would be aware that for nearly five years now, thanks to the generosity of the Good Shepherd Sisters of the Maria Droste Services in Quincy, I have been able to offer counseling support to Irish immigrants in the South Shore area. This week, my “work family” in Quincy suffered a devastating loss; the sudden death of Sr. Lorraine Bernier, beloved Director of Maria Droste. In 1995, Sr. Lorraine began working at the Quincy branch of Maria Droste Counseling Services, a Good Shepherd program that serves low-income people with little or no health insurance.
A close friend and colleague of Sr. Lorraine, Sr. Elish McPartland, who has taught our wonderful Reiki and Stress Management courses proudly says that Sr. Lorraine “was the heart and soul” of the Maria Droste Counseling Services and “was extremely sensitive to the needs of all persons and very conscious of making the world a better place.” Sr. Elish’s words echo my own experience working side by side with Sr. Lorraine. She was a true champion of our little idea about having a satellite counseling program based in Quincy when we first approached her about it in 2008. Since that time, thanks to their warm welcome, Maria Droste Services has allowed our counseling program to serve over 200 Irish Immigrants who may otherwise have not been able to access our Wellness services.
I was honored to join the staff as they mourned her loss this week and I know that the tireless work of Maria Droste will continue. Maria Droste offers “counseling and holistic therapies, with respect and compassion, in order that each person may recognize his or her innate worth and find reconciliation within oneself and with others.” Sr. Lorraine’s work and zest for life is, for me, the embodiment of this mission and I look forward to continuing to partner with Sr. Elish, Kathy, Stacey, Alexis, MaryAnn, Joan and all the other staff and volunteers for many years to come.