Archbishop Emeritus John Bathersby laughs when he tells the story of how he was born, “Feet came first and I’ve been on them ever since!”
A photo of Mount Tibrogargan hangs on his wall. He tells the story of the day he was climbing the mountain and slipped, but was lucky enough to grab onto something during the fall which saved him. “I absolutely love the mountains!” he says with a smile. While his days of climbing the Glass House Mountains are behind him, he still gets out for walk by the creek each day, sometimes joining other walkers along the way to share a story.
Archbishop Bathersby, retired as Archbishop of Brisbane in 2012. He has transitioned from the hectic schedule of leading one of Australia’s largest Archdioceses to a more reflective life.
Peta Picone, one of the Priests Foundation nurses keeps a caring eye on him. “He keeps himself busy, often insisting on walking to the shops to pick up his own groceries.”
She comments that there are people in the units who don’t believe in God, but “The Archbishop often brings conversations around to Jesus and caring for the poor,” she says. “And of course he loves Pope Francis and stays quite current with what is happening in the Church.”
Peta is quick to talk about how much she enjoys her work with the retired priests. “I’m privileged to have this job. There are very few areas in healthcare where you get to be with someone long term and form relationships.”
“Of course there is the practical side of being a nurse which requires health assessments and helping them to be as independent as possible. Sometimes, the more subtle tasks involve accompanying them to a doctor’s appointment or simply stopping in for a ‘cuppa’.”
“Our catch cry is ‘holistic health care’ and The Priests Foundation gives us the opportunity to provide this level of care for our retired priests.”