Art of Aging: Woman serves others through her profession

BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (WPVI) -- A Bucks County woman took a leap of faith which has resulted in rewarding volunteer work at a local hospital.

Carol Callahan has been a hairdresser since 1976.

It's her way of taking care of people.

"You know there isn't anything in hairdressing, I don't love," she said.

For years, she worked out of her home but when it became difficult for her senior clients to come to her? She decided to go to them.

"Now I've been doing hair in Buckingham Springs for 10 years," Callahan said.

At the same time, she felt the need to serve others on a deeper, more spiritual level.

She also serves as Lay Chaplain at Doylestown Hospital.

"I have always had a heart for ministry," added Callahan.

When her pastor shared a letter asking for volunteers for a pastoral care program, she took it as a sign.

"I always wanted to help that I could touch people's lives and their hearts," said Callahan.

Callahan spent 80 hours training at Doylestown Hospital so she could be commissioned to serve as a lay chaplain.

The work is non-denominational with a focus on offering patients comfort and emotional support.

"I mean we go in there with time to spare to spend as much time as they need and sympathize and feel their pain with them," said Callahan.

"They play such a vital, important role and they have compassion and generous hearts," said Karen Langley, Director of Volunteer Services, and Doylestown Health.

Through the program, Callahan says she's learned the importance of listening.

"You know, be sensitive to their needs. Let them talk," she said.

Rev. Maggie Ainslie, Director of Pastoral Care, Doylestown Health said, "Because we believe people heal better when they feel heard."

Callahan now volunteers four hours a week at Doylestown Hospital.

"Carol is amazing. She's very open to new situations and to learning and to sharing her heart and herself with the people she serves," said Rev. Ainslie.

"It has fulfilled me. It has blessed me beyond words," added Callahan.
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