For nearly 15 years I have been a person without a church, but who believes deeply in the importance of spirituality. I have attended a Catholic Mass with some regularity over that time period, though I am not a full Catholic and haven’t completed the course “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults” (RCIA) to help make myself one.
Thirteen years ago I had lost just about everything and was very ill. I was a psychiatric patient and it seemed I would be one for quite some time. At that time, I asked a Catholic nun who was the pastoral director of the facility about RCIA and she told me that it was in fact something Christ himself had started in order for people to have something called “community.”
This seemed odd to me, but over time it made a lot of sense. I wasn’t a part of the people who were treated for illnesses in Edmonton. I didn’t have a group of friends who knew I needed this treatment or that I needed social supports and outlets to feel better about myself.
All this changed when I moved into a group home in McCauley. Being around others who had psychiatric difficulties made me feel a lot better about myself. Having staff members who went as far as becoming real friends to the residents made me want to get out of bed each day, eat properly, take my medications, and even participate in community events.
Eventually, I made the big leap and I started attending Mass again. I found a truly wonderful person, who many of us know as simply Father Jim and I allowed my spiritual side to grow again. Soon, things started going really well for me. I found an incredible job setting up concerts. I discovered the joy of writing. Lastly, I started going to the pool five days a week and made another group of friends within that setting.
Living in McCauley has not been perfect. Sometimes I feel worried being out late at night. Sometimes I miss the people I grew up with in St. Albert. But when I run into friends like Dan Glugosh or see a spread about Gary Garrison, a fellow poet, I really feel strengthened and feel that I live in a place that gives me a meaningful and fully spiritual existence. I don’t think I could now live anywhere else!