The Last Christmas Card

Sister RaymondMore than 25 years ago, I received a pack of Christmas cards from Sister Mary Raymond McGinty with images of her original paintings. Each year since then, I’ve mailed only a few of the cards to friends and family. It was important to me that they last as long as possible. I couldn’t quite explain why (not even to myself) until today, as I sat down to address the last few cards.

The Sister was in her 80s when I knew her. She was a volunteer in the communications department at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. I was 17 and thrilled to be working for the hospital in my first gig as a paid freelance writer.

Sister Raymond was tiny and spry. She hustled in and out of the elevator and up and down the halls at the hospital. She always seemed to have an urgent purpose. Yet, she never hesitated to stop and visit, to share her insights. She was a Sister of Mercy and had worked more than 40 years as a nurse before she began her stint as a communications volunteer. Sister Raymond had many gifts. She was a font of knowledge.

Through Sister Raymond’s example, I witnessed the benefit and value of many things – working hard, acting with purpose, taking care of others, sharing your gifts.

Sister Raymond - 1989

During a newsletter photo shoot, Sister Raymond and I look through one of the many hospital scrapbooks she assembled. (1989)

As I place stamps on the last of her Christmas cards (and set one card aside to keep for myself), I feel extremely blessed to have known Sister Raymond and learned from her during such a pivotal time in my life and career.

Following is the message Sister Raymond included in the cards. It is a wish I extend to all, today and in years to come.

May the peace, love and good will of Christmas give us faith to face the New Year with hope and joy.{publisher:’36f966fe-67ee-4cd6-818a-10ef3dc05818′});


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4 thoughts on “The Last Christmas Card

  1. Chris Anglin

    Hi Jessica,
    I was at St. Joe’s as a patient in the late 1980’s and Madeline was born there in 1989. Looks like you were also there in l989. If I had known you were there, I would have said hello – lol. I remember the nuns being there, but not as nurses as they were in the earlier days. They all seemed very pleasant and calming to nervous patients.
    I loved reading “The Last Christmas Card” – a wonderful story about your wonderful memory of a kind person.
    We wish you, Mike, Tobi and Jake a very Merry Christmas.
    Love, Chris, Carl and Madeline

  2. Jessica McCann (@JMcCannWriter)

    Thanks for kind words about my post and for sharing a memory of your own. It always surprises me what a “small town” Phoenix can be. I love knowing you were all at St. Joe’s for such a special event and I may have been there at the exact same time — long before we ever met. A very Merry Christmas to you all, too. xoxo

  3. Linda Bentheim

    Jessica – I am so pleased to hear that you had the same wonderful memories of Sr. Raymond. She was such a love and an inspiration. I was just at St Joseph’s today where my husband is a patient. Brought back so many great memories of her and our great group of team members in our department. Always have thought it was the greatest and most talented people I have worked with. Love hearing about your lives and successes.

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