Compassion is an emotion that is a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer. Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterized through actions, wherein a person acting with compassion will seek to aid those they feel compassionate for.
In Sacred Scripture we see that Jesus had compassion for the people around him.
“Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:35-36)
Compassion is something that we need to express to all those we meet in our lives as we hear from the U.S. Bishops Pastoral Letter on Health and Health Care:
“Because we believe in the dignity of the person, we must embrace every chance to help and to liberate, to heal the wounded world as Jesus taught us. Our hands must be strong…reaching out in mercy and justice, touching individual persons, but also touching the social conditions that hinder the wholeness which is God’s desire for humanity.”
Our Patrons have also expressed how we can show compassion to all who we encounter in our lives both at work as well as at home:
“Sentiments of love of God, of kindness, of good will, good as these may be, are often suspect if they do not result in good deeds.” ~ St. Vincent de Paul
“As for you conduct…may you never take the attitude of merely getting the task done. You must show them affection; serving them from the heart; inquiring of them what they might need; speaking to them gently and compassionately.” ~ St. Louise de Marillac
Putting Our Values into Action
Here are a few ways we can show compassion in our daily lives, especially to our residents, staff, and family members:
- Show affection by how you respond to them. Speak to them gently.
- Serve them from the heart. Show understanding and compassion to all.
- Ask them what they need or want.
- Praise and encourage residents and employees as often as possible.
- Express appreciation by making “thank you” a part of your conversations often.
- Act consistently in dealing with others; show no favoritism.
- Apologize when needed: “I am sorry this happened.”