Sacred Stories | CommonSpirit Health’s Ever-present Values

“Compassion is caring with listening, empathy, and love, and accompanying and comforting those in need of healing.” – CommonSpirit Definition of Compassion

Recently, a colleague shared a reflection from Henri Nouwen, titled “Compassion is Being With.”

“Those who can sit with [another human], not knowing what to say, but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life…”

I greatly appreciated that my colleague added his insights on Nouwen’s words. He highlighted compassion as one of CommonSpirit Health’s core values; that at its essence, compassion translates to being present for and with others. He also told us how he put compassion into action with a man in his Bible study who would soon graduate from a program. My colleague decided to “be present” for this individual and planned to attend this celebration.

My colleague’s reflection and action inspired gratitude and introspection on my blessings, including when opportunities, life experiences and God’s blueprint have intersected.

Nearly ten years ago, I was assigned a task that introduced me to the inspirational teachings of the Jesuits. I thought: “If I have an opportunity to pursue further education, it will be at a Jesuit institution.”

Recently, I completed my studies at Creighton University. The ritual and celebration, the Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement ceremony, created space for deeper reflection and realization of a long-forgotten wish. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, my family could not travel. This caused me to ponder whether I should participate.

I shared my dilemma with two CommonSpirit colleagues, who convinced me to attend the exercises as planned. Not only did they offer gentle encouragement, they selflessly demonstrated compassion by clearing their calendars to be present with me at the ceremonies held in Omaha, Nebraska.

After the commencement ceremony, we walked around campus for an impromptu photo shoot, including a visit to St. John’s Church. As I sat in silence, I felt a warmth wash over me.

I thanked God for his guidance and presence and the many CommonSpirit individuals who accompanied and supported me along the way. Unbeknownst to me, a colleague captured that prayerful moment. That picture, and a selfie of us sitting on St. John’s steps, represent the culmination of this journey.

Through deeper reflection, the interconnectedness of two additional values surfaced: collaboration: building and nurturing meaningful relationships, and excellence: exceeding expectations of others and ourselves.

Submitted Anonymously

Questions for Reflection

Have you experienced the magnitude of one or more of our values from a colleague or patient?

If so, how did the expression of the value(s) inspire the way you complete your daily work?

About Sacred Stories

As CommonSpirit Health, we make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of
the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.

Sacred Stories convey ways our mission is being lived out by the gifted people in our ministry. We invite you to
use these stories for inspiration, as a meeting reflection, or to encourage discussion with your team.