I never thought at age 85 that I would be taking on something brand new to me and yet very familiar. I owe it to the inspiration of Karen King who has volunteered for the Red Cross for many years.
The Red Cross values line up very much with ours as CSJs. I took the required courses and before long I was being deployed to areas where there had been disasters. The first one being a two-story apartment building that was destroyed completely. People fled for their lives. I have been deployed often and in many unusual circumstances. One example was when I received a call the night after Christmas 2019. A 10-year-old child had died on a flight out of LA. I and two other Red Crossers spent a few hours on the plane ministering to the family.
Once the pandemic set in, we no longer could go to disaster scenes. I used all the skills that I used in my therapy office except now virtually, staying home calling people. During the fall of 2020 while California was on fire, we talked to people by phone helping them to stabilize so they could start their recovery journey. It is an honor and a privilege to help people who are going through a time when they are very fragile.
My work as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Provider is very satisfying and feels very familiar. I thank God for the inspiration to help the dear neighbor in a new way.
Sister Mary Sevilla, CSJ