Furthering the Healing Ministry of Jesus: Sister Darla Vogelsang

Furthering the Healing Ministry of Jesus: Sister Darla Vogelsang

By Michele Ristich Gatts

Prayer brings comfort in the most difficult of times, especially health crises.

For seven years, Sister Darla Vogelsang has witnessed that in her Chaplain Ministry for Mercy Health, ministering at St. Elizabeth Hospital Boardman campus.

“It has been both a privilege and a blessing to be part of the mission and healing ministry of Jesus as a multi-faith Hospital Chaplain,” Sister Darla comments.

Hospital Chaplaincy is an all-inclusive ministry, she states, and does not distinguish between race, color or creed.

“It has helped me appreciate God’s unlimited, merciful love for all people,” Sister Darla states. “My experience as a multi-faith Chaplain in a heath care facility has expanded my understanding and appreciation of Jesus’s mission to reveal God’s unconditional love and presence to ALL people – even the ‘nones’ who have distanced themselves from institutional religion.”

Sister Darla says her personal spiritual journey has been enriched by her encounters with the sick, the suffering, and the dying, which “have drawn me into a deeper appreciation for life and an awakening to God’s hunger for a deep relationship with us, as well as our need for a deep relationship with God.

“When we are faced with our human limitations and vulnerability in the hospital setting, when we are ill and need comfort, in the prison of loneliness and fear, or the confinement of a hospital bed and need someone to visit, that hunger for God surfaces,” she continues. “I am privileged and blessed to be one called to address that hunger and thirst for God’s healing presence in mind, body and spirit and welcome God into the journey.”

Sister Darla, center, works with fellow Chaplain Louise Howell and Sacramental Minister Father John Trimbur to bring God’s love to patients and their families through the comfort of prayer.

“I spend my days on foot, walking the halls saying the mantra: ‘Take me today, God, where You want me to go. Let me meet whomever You want me to meet. Let me say what You want me to say.  And DON’T LET ME GET IN YOUR WAY.’   And God does just that,” Sister Darla continues.

Creating harmony is essential to a fulfilled life, she adds. “Continue to live in harmony with All of God’s creation: nature, our planet, all races and religions. Also in harmony with self: body, mind, and spirit.  And use your gifts and time to make a difference in the lives of others.  See change as an opportunity for good and be ready and willing to risk change that addresses Gospel values for the good of others.”

Sister Darla has been an Ursuline Sister of Youngstown for nearly 57 years. She says experiences great happiness and fulfillment as a member of the religious community, and “being and growing in a garden of Holy Women who bring beauty and goodness where it is least expected,” she says joyfully.

Before becoming a hospital chaplain, her ministry was focused on the Gospel and sacramental life as an educator and parish liturgist. You can view her Vocation Story video on our YouTube channel.