Ring or Rent

CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic provides vital health care services to low income patients in an under-served Houston community near Interstate 45. There are many remarkable stories of hope and healing. Below is one such story in which a group of CHRISTUS Associates listened to a need and provided a great deal of support to make sure that a couple they served could know they are not alone. We are here to serve.

During a recent routine clinic visit, Sister Rosanne Popp asked her patient how he was surviving the economic stresses of the pandemic.  He told her that he had not yet been called back to work, so their resources were little to none.  He and his wife (also patient at St. Mary’s clinic) had received some economic assistance but with the pandemic lasting so long, they had exhausted all their existing resources.  And, as a kind of aside, he admitted that they had to pawn his wife’s wedding ring to pay the rent and not get evicted.

This was especially painful since they had been married 35 years and now they had to part with the most precious symbol of their marriage.  His wife agreed that this was a painful necessity and with the bleak economic outlook, the probability of getting it back was slim to none.

So, Sister Popp thought surely there must be a way to help get the wife’s wedding ring back, pay the rent, and bring a little happiness and stability back into their lives.  So, Sister Popp began telling their plight to friends and coworkers and looking into pockets and corners for whatever monies the team could find.  And true to our CHRISTUS mission to extend Jesus’ healing ministry (in the fullest sense of the word), CHRISTUS Associates and friends donated enough money to get the rings out of hoc and pay for two month’s rent.

Sister Popp called the wife with the news and she was shocked and grateful beyond words.  Sister Popp and the program manager for CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare, Danielle Ivey, accompanied the wife to the Pawn shop and retrieved the ring and watched her put it back on her finger where it belonged and had been for 35 years.

“Then we went with her to trailer park where she and her husband lived to put  money down for the next 2 months’ rent,” explained Sister Popp. “When we explained to the land lady that we were there to pay the rent for the couple for the next two months, she looked at us quizzically.  It took her a minute to figure out what we wanted to do, something very foreign to her.  Meanwhile the wife explained that we were from “her clinic” and had a smile on her face from ear to ear.”

The land-lady looked at Danielle and Sister Popp and paid them the ultimate compliment.

Sister Popp said, “She told us, ‘You must be good people.’ And, we said we were and that there were a whole lot of good people who helped solving the ring or rent dilemma and continue everyday to live the CHRISTUS mission, “To Extend the Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ.”