By Presvytera Melanie DiStefano
“Being a physician, he came to Constantinople, where he so distinguished himself for his…love for the sick and the poor…”
St. Sampson’s love for the sick and the poor is a defining characteristic of his holiness. How contrary to our modern worldview this is! At the first sign of sickness or physical “weakness” our world is ready to ignore, discard, abuse, or destroy those who are afflicted.
Be encouraged, you who have been given the role of Caregiver for a loved one. Be strengthened, knowing that He who imparts grace to the Saints is in fact growing holiness in your very souls! At times we don’t feel like sacrificing our energy, comfort, time and pleasure for our children or aging parents. At times we don’t feel we have the strength to do it even if we want to. Do it anyway.
Do it with the knowledge that God will increase the love needed, the energy and resources that are lacking. Care for the person who needs it with every ounce of compassion you can muster, praying always to see Jesus in the one who is being cranky or combative, or seemingly unappreciative. Do it, knowing you are in good company, and that the prayers of the Holy Unmercenaries who took NO PAYMENT for their service, will sanctify your offering of love in action.
Through the prayers of Saint Sampson the Unmercenary, Lord Jesus Christ our God strengthen Your children who have been called to the task of being Caregivers for those who cannot care for themselves. Help them to see your Beauty in their loved ones as they seek to bring dignity to the lives of those who are precious to You, though despised by the world. Amen.
Saint Sampson was from Rome and flourished during the reign of Saint Justinian the Great. Being a physician, he came to Constantinople, where he so distinguished himself for his virtue and his love for the sick and the poor that Patriarch Menas ordained him priest. The Emperor Justinian was healed by him, and out of gratitude built him a large hospital, which was afterwards known as "The Hospice of Sampson." Saint Sampson is one of the Holy Unmercenaries. His memory on celebrated on June 27th.[i]
Presvytera Melanie has joined the Center for Family Care as Resource Developer. She graduated from Youngstown State University (BChemE), and from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (MDiv). Married to Father Joseph DiStefano for 16 years, they have one son, Michael Seraphim. Michael has special needs that greatly impact his health and his level of independence. One of her goals is to reach out to other families who are facing similar parenting challenges in order to provide faith-based perspectives, resources, and overall encouragement in their unique walk with Christ. The foremost passion she brings to her ministry is her desire to help people of all ages to come to know the love of Jesus Christ and experience His healing grace in the sacramental life of the Church.