The Story of Mary Ruby

Mary-Ruby was born in rural Saskatchewan just as the 1930s came to completion. She was the seventh of fifteen children, raised on a farm in simple surroundings, among fiercely independent and resourceful people. Her marriage blossomed over sixty years, producing five children and numerous grandchildren. Later in life, the couple relocated from their modest and well-kept retirement home, into an assisted living facility in British Columbia. Mary Ruby's husband surrendered his driving privileges, which anchored the couple. None-the-less, this wife and mother was a person steeped in the Eucharistic values, well known to St. Peter's family services.

         

          When Jesus came into Peter's home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.  He                 touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and waited on Him."[1] 

 

Mary Ruby always showed great affection to her sons-in-law, baking them special treats, such as, lemon pie and other delicious tastes. Health issues mounted, though,  for both Mary-Ruby and George as dementia took a firmer grip on the life-long sweethearts. The couple spent their retirement days joyfully welcoming visits from their children and friends. Perhaps a dance, when a musician was available to play an old-time melody, would perk their day. Life in the long-term care home was tolerable, until COVID-19, and pandemic policy, imposed separation. "Where is mom?" George unceasingly repeated. The old man’s daunting question grew louder and more profound, as the pandemic's second wave turned, from days, into months. George's constant inquiry echoed a mysterious tone, almost as though he were asking to speak directly to Jesus.

 

          While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and brothers standing outside sought to              talk to Him.  Someone said to Him, "Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside                  seeking to speak to you." Nevertheless, Jesus answered the one who was telling him this and                        said, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?"  Moreover, stretching out His hand toward His             disciples, He said, "Behold my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of My Father,                   who is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother."[2]

After forbidding idolatry, dishonoring God's name, and demanding that the Sabbath remain holy, the Ten Commandments instruct people to regard their fathers and mothers with esteem. This sacred tenet obliges believers to always respect their parents. Children must obey, and adults attend, when their parents' become old and infirm. George and Mary Ruby were among society's fortunate, having five offspring who cared deeply for their parents. Still, who fulfills this sacred obligation when there is no children or loved ones? Can secular "for-profit" businesses ever replace a family's care? Providing for one's parents and Elders radiates love because its efforts belong to God's corporal works of mercy. Necessarily, COVID-19 visitation restrictions in long-term care homes attempted to guard against spreading the virus. However, the question begs, are resident's spiritual nourishment being attended to in the absence of family presence? 

A young health care worker suffered reprimanding for spending too much time with lonely residents, showing the systematic disjuncture, in Canadian retirement homes. Economics and business activity are ethical until they entrap people in an allusion; that power and wealth satisfy the human soul.[3] COVID-19 identified that private and "for-profit" enterprises consistently fail to provide essential care that Elders deserve. Immediate action aligning public rhetoric with God's tangible love, demands the collective's spiritual and secular attention. Bodies functioning while spirits suffer neglect, reveals a severe gap in how modernity understands care. Nations quick to fund massive infrastructure and bureaucratic projects seem willing to place societies most vulnerable at risk, grossly violating God's commandment and nature's instinct. The national conscience must urgently restructure long-term care and family services within the Public Health Act. Elders have reached a time in their life that resembles a gentle stepping towards God. Any responsible people will handle these members as a national treasure.

          Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you               wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you,                   and bring you where you do not want to go.[4]

 

In November 2020, God sent His angels and saints to collect and welcome Mary Ruby into her new dwelling.

              Nevertheless, standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother. His mother's sister, Mary                                    the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom                He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to                      the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her into his household.[5]

 

Mary Ruby joins all these other Mary's standing near to Jesus who suffered daily crucifixions. "Where is mom? George, this is mom’s new place![6]

 

 

[1] See the Gospel of Mathew, 8:14-15. Eucharist translates from Greek to mean thankfulness.

[2] See the Gospel of Mathew, 12, 46-50. Jesus transforms natural family into spiritual family.  

[3]See Romans 13:7 “Pay everyone what you owe him: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, and respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.” NAB.

[4] From the Gospel of John 21:18. Jesus in figurative dialog with Peter signals the path ahead for his confidant. The Lord says these words to Peter after asking three times whether the disciple loved him.

[5] See Jn 19:26-27.

[6] Web Page 5 translates the Story of Mary Ruby into French. La page Web 5 traduit l'histoire de Mary Ruby en français.

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