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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
May 1, 1998     The Message
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May 1, 1998

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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Disabled daughter inspiration for angel By MARY T. MANCHA Catholic News Service CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (CNS) m People travel from miles around to see the array of angels at Mag- gie's Angels in Crawfordsville and to visit with the shop's inspiration, 22-year-old Maggie Whitecotton. The shop came about because Maggie's parents, Kay and Mike Whitecotton, wanted to continue the main- streaming of their daughter, who is mentally disabled and has cerebral palsy, after she completed high school. The Whitecottons, who are members of St. Bernard Parish, decided that because she is such a social per- son, they'd open a retail shop where she could work. "We needed something that is family supported so that we could always be there to give her the kind of help that she needs. All of us need some help, she just needs more than most people," Kay Whitecotton told The Catholic Moment, newspaper of the Diocese of Lafayette. When she was 4 months old, an irreversible reaction to an inoculation left her disabled. She also is confined to a wheelchair, but her loving disposition fills the shop and its wall-to-wall angels with an aura of serenity. "She probably is the most caring person I've ever been around," said Karen Venis, the shop's manager. "She has this inner knowledge somehow, this inner feel- ing of when you need a hug. You can't have a bad day with her. She just puts you in a good mood." Kay Whitecotton said she and her husband, an archi- tect, have tried to give their two Children a balanced life. Maggie's 19-year-old brother, Jack, attends De Paul University in Chicago where he plays football. "We feel like there are times when it's real hard, and times when it's just such a gift that you don't know how to express yourself," Kay said. "I don't think God would ever give you a gift that was too difficult. I real- ly think he knows what you can handle and I think at least he hopes that we will react in the right way." In an office in the rear of the shop, Maggie sits in her wheelchair, her posture straight, and listens to her mother talk about her. Now and then she will interrupt with a sign or a word that family and friends have come to understand. Stylishly dressed, with dark curls pulled into a pony tail and earrings dangling, she could be any- one's daughter, sister or friend. For the past two years, Maggie has spent her mornings and afternoons at her shop working with Venis, whose task it is to do the things Maggie's body won't let her do. Maggie's work includes putting price stick- ers on each new item and going up front to greet cus- tomers. The shop has done well, Kay said, with an invento- ry of figurines and other angel items that stick to Scrip- ture, not New Age trends. It also sells some heirloom- quality wedding gifts and baby items. Although Maggie's abilities are limited, she is gifted, her mother said. "She has an unbelievable gift of know- ing when people need love." Maggie will often reach out with a gentle touch or hug, her mother said. "She gravitates toward the bro- ken, so I've always said that God gave her her own lit- tle ministry." The mother knows her daughter's humor, her occa- H sional obstinacy, and her spirituality. "Through all the surgeries, one of the most essential things body and mind might be broken, b intact," Kay said, her eyes Although there are times her mother explained, she's at "She loves to go to church, and if she know she'd sing louder than ing Communion. She almost wants to dap It's so joyful, it bellows out." Maggie has caring friends from high! ? don't think God you a gift that was too attended proms and has even been a three weddings.  Kay said she and her husband with the ability to care for their her with a livelihood that is" community, good for the fatal y. She urged the Catholic community t those parents with disabled their care and may "As a society, especially with as as we have in our world, we should bc the weaker," said Kay, "and maybe they are not as weak as we think they, to grow." i i: Nursing homes say medicaid proposals could reimbursements are made would threaten a not-for-profit nursing home's ability to pro- vide high-quality care, and would result in additional nurs- ing costs that will lead to reduc- tion in staff and an increase in the staff-to-patient ratio. Cuts in Medicaid for non- nursing costs will also threaten programs, activities and social and pastoral services, and nurs- ing homes in poorer neighbor- hoods will especially feel the impact, according to the health care providers. At the State House meeting, Lillian Glickman, acting secre- tary of the state's Executive Office of Elder Affairs, said the Catholic long-term health care system has done a notable job in urban areas. "They've successfully reached out to a very difficult popula- tion in the inner city where the need is the greatest," Glickman said. "We see it from the service- By STEPHEN GAWLIK Catholic News Service representatives of the health care industry at a meeting with lawmakers at the State House to discuss proposals to make Med- icaid reimbursements based on average costs. In Massachusetts there are 31 Catholic -run health care facilities for the elderly. This represents 4,154 nursing home beds, or roughly 7 percent of the state's licensed long-term care capacity. Officials of Catholic facilities say changing how Medicaid BOSTON (CNS) -- Changes in Medicaid reimbursements would impair the ability of Catholic providers of health care to the elderly to continue offering high-quality care, according to the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. The conference's executive director, Gerald D'Avolio, joined other church leaders and . : delivery endi they've has been seen Catholic care once Wi Care Network "It's a because even then it court for a The Secret's Out The practitioner's role in natural family You cannot buy Natural Family Planning off a shelf. You learn it! At St. Mary's Medical Center, Evansville, and Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center, Jasper, the Creighton Model NFP Practi- tioners provide service to cou- ples on an individual basis. NEWS AND COMMENTARY By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing writer NFP is a learning process which the practitioner facili- tates. This learning process begins with an introductory session at which the NFP Prac- titioner uses a slide presenta- tion to demonstrate the key NFP concepts for maintaining procreative and gynecological health while achieving or avoiding pregnancy: After the introductory ses- sion, couples meet with the NFP Practitioner on an indi- vidual basis. At first the NFP Practitioner schedules these follow-up appointments at two week intervals. In a grad- ual, planned fashion, appoint- ments are scheduled further and further apart, first at one month, then three and then six month intervals. This follow- up schedule is specifically designed to allow the couple to develop confidence in the use of Natural Family Plan- ning. The couple and the Creighton Model NFP Practi- tioner meet eight times during the first year. One Evansville client descriKl the follow-up schedule as "very helpful," noting the "human touch" of the practitioner: "The practitioner knows the patterns of fertility. I would be frustrat- ed trying to match our fertility pattern to one in a book. But the practitioner offers more than a book! She recognizes the pat- terns but can accommodate our individual variations. She helps us clarify our signs of fertility or infertility and provides neces- sary support." The client added, " The NFP Practitioner links aspects of psychological and physical well-being together. Since stress can effect fertility, she helps us to assess our own stress level. I find the integra- tion of important aspects of our fertility unique to Natural Fam- ily Planning." To provide this integrated service, most NFP Practition- ers have completed a college degree and complete a specific 13 month practitioner educa- tion program sponsored joint- ,,, ,, , ly by Creighton University School of Medicine and the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduc- tion. The program includes instruction in 51 basic and advanced topics relevant tp Natural Family Planning rang- ing from the "History of NFP and its Scientific Foundations" more ural Family St. Mary'S Education Care Center 482-0636 or The Instructor in to its Spiritual Foundations rooted in the Church encycli-, 882-5688. cal Humanae Vitae. During this To make coa education program, the new growing Na practitioners build their clini- services in cal experience into a closely- ville, supervised practice, dation at "'a""'nO ST. MA medical news from a Catholic Health Ca perspective is , 00ou.esy of Services