What is an Infirmarian?

What is an Infirmarian?

When people ask what my main duties are at the monastery and I respond that I am the Infirmarian, I can usually tell by the look on their face that the thought, “That sounds impressive, but what does it mean?” may be going through their head. The Infirmarian is the brother appointed by the about to look after the health needs of the whole community, and especially to have special care of the infirm and elderly members.

Not having a medical background myself, my job is greatly aided by the presence of a Certified Nursing Assistant we have on staff and a local retired doctor who volunteers his time to visit regularly, as well as the great team of doctors, dentists, and specialists in our area.

Daily duties include such things as working and consulting with the health care professionals, accompanying brothers to medical appointments, looking after medication, assisting our seniors with bathing and dental care, preparing meals, laundering, etc.

Above all however is recognizing, honoring, loving and serving as Christ the brothers in our care. As the Rule of St. Benedict says: “Before all things and above all things, care must be taken of the sick, so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person; for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me", and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me" (RB 36). May we ever be granted this Grace!