Radio Show

Karen Duffy on Chaplaincy and Living With Chronic Pain


Actress and best-selling author Karen Duffy discusses her work as a hospital chaplain and her experience living with chronic pain.

Father Dave asks Karen about her work as a hospital chaplain. “My idea of chaplaincy was that I could kind of just walk around and pray, but that’s not it,” she says. “You really have to get in there. The last thing I wanted to do was bother people. My supervisor asked me what I thought was my greatest gift as a hospital chaplain. I said something like, ‘My communication skills,’ or ‘I can make them laugh or cheer them up.’ And he said, ‘No, I think your greatest gift to people who are suffering will be your own pain.’”

RELATED: Showing up Imperfectly: What I Learned as a Hospital Chaplain

Karen shares that she lives with chronic pain due to an inflammatory disease called Sarcoidosis. She shares insights on dealing with chronic pain during lockdown.”The best advice I ever heard is about finding your purpose. That is, having something to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. We will never have a time like this… This is a rare opportunity to see yourself in a new light. We have to look at the whole world with more compassion.” She encourages us to put our efforts into what’s the most meaningful to us, rather than wasting an opportunity to better ourselves.