Testimony of Anamaria Mardonez, former student in Religious Sciences

Hello, I am Anamaría Mardonez, consecrated member of the Regnum Christi. Currently, I work as a member of the spiritual and pastoral support team at the Clinica San Carlos de Apoquindo, part of the UCCHRISTUS healthcare network in Santiago, Chile. I had the opportunity to study a Master's in Religious Sciences at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. This title allowed me to start a high-level pastoral care and health course at the Lateran University in 2017, followed by a one-year professional training course at Mater Misericordie Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, specializing in spiritual and pastoral care of patients, earning the "Healthcare Chaplaincy" certification. Since the hospital is a very rich and unique space to make God present, it is essential for the pastoral worker to have the knowledge and skills provided by Religious Sciences as a foundation. The role of those providing spiritual assistance in the healthcare field is multifaceted; patients and their families experience difficult moments, doubts, darkness, uncertainties, and often helplessness. Even the healthcare professionals attending to the patients need spirituality as a resource in their tasks and profession. Pastoral care in the clinical setting includes celebratory moments such as baptism, reconciliation, and the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Giving meaning to pain and suffering is connected to the mysteries of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I often find myself having to accompany patients at the moment of their death, supporting their families in faith in eternal life and the fidelity of a loving Father. However, more and more frequently, I encounter patients from other churches and religions, as well as non-believers, among others. The Christian perspective, with its mercy, can open doors to hope in such a unique moment as death. The Master's in Religious Sciences provides pastoral tools that make the beauty of our faith and the need for a comprehensive approach to the pain caused by illness and death accessible to all.

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