I keep looking for ways to try to heal and move forward living with my disability, Proteus Syndrome. But, It’s been difficult for me to accept this disability and embrace it, even after 57 years of living. This is my Cross. I have always tried my hardest to overcome obstacles that seem to stand in my way, and to keep pushing forward, but Proteus Syndrome has a life of its own and It’s taking over. I don’t like that. It’s like I’m at war with it, but since it’s part of who I am, am I at war with myself? I hope this doesn’t sound too nutty. My mind and heart want to walk again but my body says. “No sir, you’re not going to do that”. It’s challenging. I am always thinking of new ways to overcome these obstacles I face, but now the Proteus has got me homebound. This is really difficult to accept, because I loved being with people and being a brother to everyone. I was a Capuchin-Franciscan for 12 years. I took my Solemn Vows in 1996. I felt so guilty that this disability was beginning to be so expensive, since I had no health insurance due to Proteus Syndrome being a “pre-existing condition”. No health insurance company would take me under their wing. This was my reality in 2000. The burden it placed on my Order became another source of guilt to me back then. In my heart, however, I am still a Capuchin-Franciscan. I pray every day that Christ Jesus will have mercy on the many bad decisions I made back then. I still have a deep desire to help save souls for Christ, so I began the Hermits of the Holy Cross from home. It’s a ministry in the Church for the physically disabled who still want to serve in some way but are physically unable to do so. In this ministry, the Hermits of the Holy Cross, we serve spiritually, offering up to God our sufferings that stem from our disabilities. We offer intercessory prayer for our world, our parishes, our families and friends. There are now five Hermits of the Holy Cross. Theresa, Stephanie, Marie, Audrey and myself. We are all living in different parts of the world, in Canada, New York, Texas and California. Our spirits are working together for Christ Jesus, in real time, helping Him heal our broken world. We try to be an inspiration to others. Suffering has meaning. No one suffers in vain. God created us the way we are for His purpose. We are His children. Despite our physical limitations, our suffering offered up or our prayers that ascend to Heaven for others and for ourselves, assist our Christ. So, in closing, I just wanted to reach out to you, my disabled sisters and brothers around the world, to hopefully lift your hearts up with encouragement and hope during this Advent and Christmas Season. We want you to know we are with you in spirit, in the struggles that life brings. Keep climbing the mountain, keep holding on to that cross you carry. Soon it will be traded for a crown. Have a most blessed Christmas from all of us in the Hermits of the Holy Cross.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
Hermits of the Holy Cross