Growing up the daughter of a Disciples of Christ minister, Rev. Holmes knew she would never pursue a career in ministry.
“My dad experienced the ups and downs that go along with taking care of other people,” Rev. Holmes said. “I saw how that affected his family life, and I did not want anything to do with it.”
Instead, Rev. Holmes majored in English before accepting a scholarship to law school. But she could not ignore a calling to serve others through ministry.
“Throughout life, I went to church camp where songs and music became an important part of my spiritual life, supporting me through some challenging times,” Rev. Holmes said. “The more I went to camp, the more I realized I had a deep love for people. God was telling me to use my hardships to help others.”
Changing Her Path
Following her spiritual revelation, Rev. Holmes attended Lexington Theological Seminary, launching a journey that would take her into ministry in a variety of settings, including hospice care in Lexington.
“Hospice is where I started seeing a correlation between music and spirituality,” Rev. Holmes said. “Music was able to soothe terminally ill people in a way that I could not.”
A shift in staffing at the hospice where she worked led Rev. Holmes to Saint Joseph East and then to Saint Joseph Berea, where she works in pastoral care. “I love the work I do here,” Rev. Holmes said. “When a person allows me into a part of their life, it is very humbling and rewarding.”
To connect with Rev. Holmes, speak with your Saint Joseph Berea health care provider.
When the Caretaker Becomes the Patient
In October 2018, Saint Joseph Berea chaplain Rev. Rachele Royale Holmes experienced a stroke while in the car with her husband and knew immediately where she needed to be taken for care.
“He rushed me to Saint Joseph Hospital, where I received the clot-busting medication, tPA,” Rev. Holmes said. “They took me to a bed in a room where I had counseled terminal patients, and I cried, thinking I was dying, as well.”
Clinicians with Saint Joseph Hospital discovered a hole in Rev. Holmes’s heart that had contributed to her stroke and were able to correct the abnormality.
“It is amazing that I was taken to the right place at the right time,” Rev. Holmes said. “I am back enjoying time with my family, staying healthy and even ran the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation’s 5th Annual Yes, Mamm! 5K one year after my stroke. I am so grateful.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.