Called to Serve
story by Skyler Ballard
As the early morning sun peeks through the curtains, spilling light onto the dozens of angel figurines covering every flat surface in her living room, Sister Lucy Bonifas heads to her couch with a cup of coffee and her prayer book, and starts up a conversation with God.
When she finishes her conversation an hour later, Sister Lucy grabs her homemade bread and a bouquet of flowers she grows in her backyard and makes her way to Lourdes Hospital.
Although she retired from the hospital earlier this year, Sister Lucy is immediatly greeted with smiles and hugs from nearly everyone she passes as she walks through the halls to deliver her flowers to the hospital's chapel every week.
Some days, Sister Lucy also travels to nursing homes around Paducah to visit and comfort residents.
As a teenager growing up in rural Ohio, Sister Lucy attended a preparatory high school and decided she wanted to become a nun.
"I felt like I was being called to religious life," says Sister Lucy, who was raised Catholic along with her seven siblings.
After completing nursing training, in 1969, when she was 32, Sister Lucy packed up her things, left her family behind, and moved to Paducah where she began her work at Lourdes Hospital.
Although she worked as a registered nurse and as director of hospice, spiritual services, childcare and many other jobs over the years requiring her to be on her feet for up to 16 hours a day, she did so for no pay.
"Married people make marriage vows. I vowed poverty, to identify with the poor," Sister Lucy says. She lives off donations and what is provided to her from her order, Sisters of Francis.
"All the gifts He's given me, they're not mine to keep," Sister Lucy says. "God has blessed me with so many gifts. I just need to respond to that and spread that love."