I Graduated …. What Caritas Means to Me

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I graduated from Watson’s Caritas Coach program last week.

This was a six-month online inner journey intensive program that started in Boston and ended in Boulder, Colorado.

I had studied Watson’s Theory of Human Caring/Caring Science 15+ years ago in school,

but this program focuses on how to experience Caring Science and the Caritas ProcessesTM.

What is Caritas ?

Caritas is Latin. It is love of humankind. It is to cherish, to appreciate, to give special/loving attention to. It is charity and compassion and generosity of spirit.

Caritas makes explicit the connection between love and caring. Love in its fullest, universal, infinite sense. 2008, p39

Caritas means to cherish, to hold, caring with deep acceptance and love.

See all these references to Love ?

This was always too much for me. I just could not wrap love into my nursing caring.

Until I learned the following:

The Personal – Caritas applied to self

Everything always comes down to one of two things, LOVE or FEAR.

“The choice for Love is to let our core essence shine forth.”  Barbara Brennan suggests that if we cannot make the choice for love in the moment (for me- it’s when I can’t feel love in the moment),  then the next choice for love is to accept where we are, and  determine which life lesson we need, and start working through it.  This is the path to greater self-awareness.                                                             Watson 2005, p 79-80

Greater self-awareness will bring us out of fear and into Love.

 These steps distill my  journey to Caritas into a few, clear steps.   If I don’t feel love, then ask myself, What is the life lesson that I need? And proceed with working through it by growing my self-awareness.

The Professional – Caritas applied to humanity and the universality of Caritas

One of my fellow Caritas Coach graduates told a story last week about her recent experience in interviewing a Syrian refugee in Greece (what an experience!). While this Caritas nurse sat quietly to allow the Syrian woman to collect her thoughts and words, after much silence, the woman said “Caritas”.   The Caritas nurse was astonished and questioned the woman again, thinking where did this come from? Is this an Arabic word? She found out that it was through working with the local Greek people that the Syrian woman said that she experienced Caritas. In that space and time, it means, “people who Love”.

It’s impossible said pride

It’s risky said experience

It’s pointless said reason

Give it a try whispered the heart

from above card

Featured image from  thegentlepath.com  Card collection. Photograph © Rick Filler 2014
Watson J. Caring Science as Sacred Science. Philadelphia: FA Davis Company; 2005.
Watson J. Nursing – The Philosophy and Science of Caring, Revised Ed. Boulder: University Press of Colorado; 2008.

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