Remembering Kenn Rancourt
Readings: Numbers 11:25-29 James 5:1-6 Mark 9:38-43
The first reading for this week describes an occasion when the Spirit of the Lord came upon 70 elders who in turn began to speak prophetic words to the Israelites. At one point Moses remarks:
“Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”
St. Mary’s Health System was fortunate to have one such person among us for the past 34 years. Kenn Rancourt, our chaplain for behavioral services for the past 20 years, passed away on Thursday, September 13, 2012. Kenn was an amazingly gifted man through whom the Spirit shone brightly. He was, as Fr. Manship described at his funeral Mass, a “soul companion” for many patients and staff members. He believed vehemently that as chaplain he was not “bringing” God to someone but rather helping them discover the God who abides within and is always ready to offer comfort, healing and solace.
Kenn loved preparing and writing these scripture reflections for Sunday scribes. Here is one example of his wisdom and prophetic words to us:
“We show we love God not so much by observing the numerous commandments, but by loving what God loves. And God favors the widow, the helpless, the oppressed, the powerless, the suffering, etc.
It sounds a lot like Health Care, doesn’t it, where we care for the sick, the feeble, the elderly, the suffering, the helpless, the depressed and the dying? That’s why working in Health Care is more than just a job. It’s a response to a calling. It’s loving and caring for the people God loves the most. It’s like being the hands of God’s love. That is one of the reasons I don’t retire. As long as I can serve the patients, I plan to keep doing it. It assures me that when I die, I’ll die alive!!!”
Kenn also shared his incredible gift for music and poetry, inviting children, teens and adults struggling with addiction and mental illness to capture their thoughts and feelings in poems and then setting them to music to echo back their images and insights. His ministry touched hundreds of people who will remember him with gratitude. In the words of Hanna Senesh:
There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct
There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world
even though they are no longer among the living
These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark
They light the way for humankind
Kenn, we shall miss you dearly. We trust your spirit and legacy will continue to light the way for us.
Tags: chaplain, first reading, gifted man, Gospel, ken rancourt, mass, Readings, Scribes, scripture reflections, soul companion, spirit of the lord, St. Mary's, St. Mary's Health System, Sunday, Sunday Scribes