Westborough nurse offers physical and spiritual healing
By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Julie Basque, 53, has spent her adult life attending to people's needs – mind, body and spirit. From her work as a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to that of nurse at St. Luke's Parish, Basque is a prolific caregiver who works to maintain the wellbeing of others.
Basque knew at an early age that she wanted to become a nurse. After reading about Clara Barton and her work during the Civil War in grade school, Basque knew that she, too, wanted to build a career helping people.
Her dreams came to fruition when, in 1982, she earned an undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She went on to receive a master's degree in nursing from Boston College in 1985.
Basque worked at MGH from 1982 to 1999, first as a staff nurse then as a clinical educator for new nurses. It was in 1997 that she began working as a parish nurse for St. Luke's. At the time, Fr. George Lange, former pastor at St. Luke's, expressed an interest in having more help in providing spiritual and pastoral care to the parish community. He ultimately hired two nurses to assist part time in these areas, Michelle Parsons and Basque.
“My desire to move toward parish nursing came out of my own desire to deepen my relationship with God and better follow His plan for me,” said Basque. “I wanted to explore how I could combine my nursing and my spirituality.”
Basque left MGH to focus on her work at the church where she currently works 28 hours a week, in addition to being a mom to Kate, 26, and Andy, 23.
Basque is involved in a myriad of outreach services at St. Luke's. She coordinates and personally delivers Holy Communion to the homebound as well as to senior residences The Willows, Whitney Place, Whittier, The Highlands and two nursing homes associated with St. Luke's. Additionally, she assists with bereavement care, helping to coordinate two bereavement series each year.
This fall Basque will graduate from St. John's Seminary laity program in Brighton, where she will earn a Masters of Arts in ministry. She is also certified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains as a lay ecclesial health care minister.
“While some accuse me of “always being in school,” I really love growing in my understanding of my faith and how I can better reach out to others with love and compassion,” Basque said. “I am a firm believer that my personal growth in my own faith journey is key to my being open and available to others in our parish who are in need, whether spiritually or emotionally.”
Basque works closely with current pastor Monsignor Michael Foley, often calling him when she is aware of a need for a parishioner to receive the Sacrament of Anointing or a visit from their pastor.
As parish nurse, Basque is able to combine her love for helping others with her deep faith – and change lives in the process.
“I love what I do. I often feel I have a front row seat in seeing God at work,” she said. “There are hundreds of instances of God at work through the sacraments, through others, through coincidences that are just not coincidences. Love, mercy and compassion are the hallmarks of God in our lives. I truly believe that as disciples we are called to go out and share the good news of the Gospel. Sometimes that good news is shared in words and other times in actions; authenticity happens when the two intersect. I strive for authenticity.”
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