We conclude our series of profiles for National Volunteer Month with Tim and Cecilia Marcy, our most senior missioners. We hope that our posts from the last month have made you aware of the impact of volunteers as well as inspired you to answer your own call to service.

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The Marcys are finishing up three years of mission at St. Francis Care Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is their second mission term with FMS. From 2004 to 2006, they served at the San Pedro Parish Medical Clinic in Sacaba, Bolivia where Cecilia was a nurse and Tim was a pharmacist and worked with children. 

In South Africa, Tim works in the centre’s outpatient facility. As a deacon, he also regularly helps with Mass, gives homilies and brings communion to the homebound.  

Cecilia is a nurse at the hospice for patients with HIV or AIDS. The majority of her time is spent massaging the patients’ feet and legs to help deal with the pain and poor circulation that result from peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities. Some of the AIDS strong medications can cause this too.  

I value this opportunity to be of service in a manner that is helpful to others. I find that it is fitting my faith life at this time,” Cecilia said. “I am grateful to be a part of the Franciscan Mission Service and to be working as a missioner.”

Massage is useful for the patients who also have tuberculosis, especially if they have tuberculosis of spine which can paralyze them from the waist down. Some patients have problems with contractions of their leg muscles and benefit from massage as well. 

Cecilia recently shared a story about one of the patients she massages:

“A man in his twenties was admitted to the hospice. He asked for vigorous massage on his thighs because they were in such pain. After one week in the hospice, he only had the use of one leg. The doctor told him to exercise or else his leg would shrink. He did much exercise from the groin down. 

The young man persisted in trying to help himself. He had another patient try to help him with a walker, but his knees gave way and he fell, and they were both scolded by the staff. The man continued wanting massage as he was hopeful that it would help. 

Then he discovered that some of the children’s climbing equipment in the playground was high enough for his hands to support him while he tried to use his legs on the ground beneath him. He didn’t give up in his efforts to recover, using his arms to move himself off his high bed into a wheel chair and back into bed. He said he was due back to his job soon.

He was the most motivated patient I had known since I started at the hospice. He did have family who visited him regularly. He seemed to make friends quickly with the other male patients and the staff. He showed his fear and concern about his physical condition, but I never heard him complain.”

Please support Tim and Cecilia’s service in South Africa by making a donation to Franciscan Mission Service.