Of all the people I spoke with as a Shrine Mont Blogger, I spent the most time with Nurse Lynn Gray. It happened that way because she is a loving, awesome committed professional who’s call to healing is a vocation instead of job, and because I visited her at the bustling lower infirmary, one of the two Shrine Mont infirmaries. Your image of an infirmary may be a quiet place of healing, and it is for those who are resting in one of the rooms, but her office is a hotspot of activity! It has two entrances and people are moving through it constantly seeking her medical advice, life advice, a hug, a band aid, seeking a remedy, or any other medical, spiritual or personal thing you can think of!
Nurse Lynn has been the Camp nurse for fourteen seasons, and this year she arrived in mid-June and will leave mid-August, having only had three days off. Prior to being the Camp nurse, Lynn was a hospice nurse for over twenty years, then she was a school nurse, and while she was still a school nurse, she became the Camp Nurse at the mountain and has been here ever since. She is one of two staff nurses, and about four years ago she invited her sister Nurse Pam to join the staff! Shrine Mont IS a family and the nursing staff truly reflect that!!
Nurse Lynn is married to the Rev. Michael Gray, a parish priest who truly understands her vocational call as much as she understands his! While on the mountain, Fr. Michael visits her from their home in Culpeper. So cool! Nurse Lynn raised seven children and she has ten grandchildren, so she certainly has seen a lot in this life and she has tended to most situations that anyone here might encounter! There are two infirmaries at Shrine Mont, Nurse Lynn works at the upper infirmary where there seems to be a revolving door for campers and staff to go in and out. It is obvious that she loves giving love, healing the infirm, and comforting the parents and staff who are in her care. Her work is more than nursing though, in the short amount of time I was there, several people stopped in for advice, to get help in finding lost items, and to receive emotional support in addition to the camper and volunteer in beds!
Nurse Lynn commented that the teen volunteers at camp have huge responsibilities that are both physical and emotional, but the volunteers and staff who work with the campers who live with disabilities. There are times when the volunteers get overwhelmed and come to her and to her infirmary for respite and loving attention. Her hospice care training is probably used daily here as she cares for the sick and for their caregivers too! The night before I visited her she had started her day at 6:00 a.m. and ended her work at 1:30a.m. (the next day)! There she was diligently at her desk on the phone and on the walkie talkie when I came to visit early next morning. Complaints from her? None; because she loves healing and helping people on this mountain!
I felt the depth of Nurse Lynn in our thirty-minute time together; she is a profound, grounded spiritual being with tentacles of love and healing for anyone that comes to her. She reminded me of Jesus and the disciples who, when exhausted still healed the people of God – there is no rest for the weary. She said that she will give herself two days in bed when she gets home, she looks forward to that time of rest!
Nurse Lynn hopes to recruit more nurses to work at camp, either for weekends, a one-week session, two-week session, or for the entire summer session. Shrine Mont Camp seeks a committed loving nurse who understands this intensive 7X24 ministry, and someone who will love the campers, the staff, and the mountain as much as she does.
The Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, Camp Blogger
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.