We’ve all been in the unfortunate situation of having to deal with the mountain of grief that accompanies death. Whether it’s saying goodbye to a loved one or having accompanied another through his/her last days, the end of life is often challenging and filled with a range of emotions. Dominican Sister of Hope Cynthia Bauer, OP seeks to give people a space to feel this grief and to cope with it.

“It’s mostly people from this parish who had lost primarily spouses,” Sister Cynthia explains. “They are offered a safe place to come, a confidential space, where they could share their stories and get support from one another.”

It’s a place where they can cry. It’s not as easy as getting on with your life.

To facilitate conversation, Sister Cynthia leads the discussion based on a theme and a book that each recipient receives for free. While she hoped that attendees would feel welcome, the group fostered a sense of community that Sister Cynthia didn’t expect.

“Out in their families and in their social circles, participants often feel that they can’t express their sorrow because people say, ‘You should get over this,’ or ‘Get on with your life.’ People don’t understand what they’re going through,” Sister Cynthia explains.

Yet, in the bonds formed, Sister Cynthia witnessed hope.

“Through our faith we have hope in Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection. We believe that we will see our loved ones again. That’s the center of where I’m coming from, to help the bereaved remember that’s what’s important.”

This post is part of our Hope Is series to commemorate Hope’s 23rd birthday. Follow along and see all of the posts here.