Discovering her life’s purpose has been a unique journey for Claudia Dorsch, UnityPoint Health – Finley’s Hospital’s new chaplain.
Claudia came to the United States from Taiwan with her husband, who is a Wisconsin native. In Chicago, Claudia was a stay-at-home mom for two years, before she became a harp technician, while working for quality control.
“The search for my next opportunity was a hard journey, as I began to wonder about the meaning of life,” Claudia said. “Providing harp music for weddings, funerals and holiday events filled that void temporarily.”
In addition to playing the harp, Claudia also worked for a sports agency in their international client services division, which equipped her with the ability to be a listening ear for athletes and their struggles, both on the field and off.
It wasn’t until 2008 when Claudia had her first experience of providing emotional support to patients in a hospital setting. One of Claudia’s friends had suffered two strokes and became paraplegic.
“I visited her and her family from the day at the emergency room through her acute rehabilitation of three years,” Claudia said. “It was during those challenging times that I had a sense of purpose that was never felt before.”
In 2013, Claudia entered Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and thought her first calling was as a pastoral psychotherapist.
It was during her years in the seminary when Claudia found God putting her in other pastoral fields.
“God showed me more ways to explore and understand this call to ministry,” Claudia said. “Besides my theological studies and counseling courses, I also completed five units of clinical pastoral education in two hospitals, University of Illinois Health Sciences System and UnityPoint Health Meriter in Madison, Wisconsin.”
During her experiences in the hospital pastoral care setting, Claudia knew that is where God always wanted her to be.
“With each tragic clinical case in the hospital, I experienced abundant grace and mercy, while journeying with patients and their families,” Claudia said. “Every opportunity with a patient is like a gift from God. It stretches and challenges me to face the unknown and not to attempt to find any solutions, instead just being present and trusting the Divine presence.”
When caring for patients and their families, Claudia prides herself on staying authentic, while continuing to grow her relationship with God and her understanding for her life’s purpose.
“Patients and families get the true Claudia,” Claudia said. “My multi-cultural and interfaith background allows me to be open-minded to each patient and their respective family for their traditions and beliefs, without imposing my own. My spiritual practice keeps me grounded and allows me to remain present when facing difficult situations.”
Claudia is motivated by her curiosity and compassion to be support for patients and families who may going through trying times together. Her curiosity keeps her engaging in exploration for events throughout the day, while her compassion holds her accountable for her own thoughts and actions.
While Claudia is excited for the opportunity to connect with Finley’s patients and their families during a stay at the hospital or at a time of dire need, she has one important message for her fellow team members and potential patients and families.
“In the gospel according to Matthew, ‘I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.’ There is no Claudia without the community of people. I see things through a relational lens and recognize the feedback I receive as people demonstrating they care by sharing their concerns. It is through the interaction with my team members, patients and families that I can become a part of this community and fulfill my call to the ministry.”