Building on their loving service to the Denver community for nearly 100 years, Dominican Home Health Agency has transformed with a new name and focus: Emmaus Hospice.
The four Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor who founded this organization came to Denver in 1923 to provide authentically Catholic care for the city’s residents in their homes. From day one, this included end-of-life care that honors both the physical and spiritual needs of their patients. The Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, affectionately known around town as Sidewalk Samaritans, walked into the neighborhoods and homes where Christ’s healing was needed most.
Times have changed tremendously since this organization’s founding. Then Covid changed our world even more, introducing new staffing challenges and shifting the health care industry in significant ways.
In walking with the community during the pandemic, we also discovered that our home care providers were often the only person with whom our patients had contact. This was especially true as quarantine restrictions limited the opportunity for families and friends to support their loved ones facing serious health issues. We grieve for those who suffered in isolation and for those who died without familiar faces at their bedside or the access to the sacraments.
In supporting and listening to the community during this time, and in remaining open to the ways God was calling us to serve, we came to recognize the urgent need for authentically Catholic home hospice, something that did not yet exist in Denver.
But praise God, it does now and — God willing — Emmaus Hospice will begin serving patients in 2023.
‘A beautiful religion in which to die’
Sister Catherine Wybourne, a British banker turned Benedictine nun, was a popular Catholic voice on Twitter (@DigitalNun) and developed an audience of more than 28,000 followers. Just before she died from cancer at age 68, she wrote, “Catholicism can be a hard religion to live by, but is a beautiful religion in which to die.”
Catholics have a rich tradition of accompanying the dying and supporting them with sacraments, prayers and love. Emmaus Hospice is bringing that tradition together with exceptional clinical care to support the body and soul of our patients — and help families experience Christ’s love as they, too, prepare for their loved one’s transition into the next life.
On the Road to Emmaus
Emmaus Hospice does not take its mission or its name lightly. The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is one that offers beautiful parallels to the journey at the end of our earthly life. The gospel of Luke tells us that the disciples looked “downcast” and discussed their disappointment as they walked. Jesus was walking and talking with them, “but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him” until later when, gathered around a table, “He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.”
We, too, need the Eucharist and other sacraments on our journey. Emmaus Hospice will prioritize access to the sacraments for the home hospice patients who seek them, recognizing these are essential parts of caring for the whole person.
A Truly Compassionate and Pro-Life Approach
Emmaus Hospice will offer exceptional clinical care that relieves pain and suffering in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Medicine will never be used to end someone’s life prematurely. Catholic hospice does not seek to hasten or delay death, but rather accepts God’s loving and divine timing.
The word “compassion” comes from the Latin word compati, which means to suffer with. The seriously ill and dying need our presence. With your help, we will continue what the Sidewalk Samaritans started, walking alongside the people of Denver to the end of this life, assuring them: you are seen and heard and loved — and you still matter.
While we come to this new mission with nearly 100 years of service to and love for the community, we are also creating something entirely new. We humbly ask for your prayers as we build this new pro-life ministry from the ground up.
Bolstered by God’s grace, the enthusiasm of the Catholic community in Denver and your prayers, Emmaus Hospice looks forward to journeying with patients and their families, providing the care they deserve so that they can experience Christ’s love.
Ways to Walk Alongside Emmaus Hospice, Denver’s Newest Pro-Life Ministry
Please pray for this organization. This pro-life ministry needs prayerful guidance and protection.
Share this vision with your family and friends.
Talk to your priests about this mission. Emmaus Hospice will begin speaking at parishes in the fall and would welcome an invitation from your priest.
Emmaus Hospice will hire its caregiving team and support staff in the coming months and is looking to expand its board of directors. You may know people in the medical community interested in this mission, and your referrals and introductions are greatly needed.
Are you looking for a career change or new opportunity to love your neighbors? Perhaps God is calling you to share your gifts and talents with Emmaus Hospice as an employee or volunteer.
You can donate securely online at EmmausHospice.org.