Join us for a 'Chat with a Chaplain' - introducing Bethanie Subiaco's Kyla Hillmer!
What brought you to Bethanie?
Before I came to Bethanie I worked as an Education Assistant while my children were in Primary School. This was a great job as I still had plenty of time to support them while they grew up.
One day, I came across one of Bethanie’s internship programs to train as a Chaplain. I talked it over with a friend who said I would be very well suited for the position.
I started the internship in 2016. This included studying hard and receiving a Diploma in Ministry. After completing the internship, I moved into a trainee role which is where I will be until I complete a Degree in Theology. I study this part time while I work.
What do you enjoy the most about your role as a Chaplain?
The most rewarding part about the role is all about making connections that are life giving. To connect well with others is to ensure individuals feel loved, valued, cared for and understood.
I hold this quote from John O’Donohue close to my heart as a guide to connect: "One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen."
Is there a consistent piece of advice you like to share with your clients?
I don't often give advice because my role is more about listening and helping people discover their own answers, conclusions, etc.
However, I commonly find people apologise for being emotional or expressing how they truly feel as if it is wrong to cry, be angry or be honest. My response to this is to always give them permission to express how they feel with words, emotions or body language.
Honesty is all a part of the journey.
What experiences have you had that really highlight the importance of your role in your clients’ life?
Two common experiences I have that help me understand the impact of my role as a chaplain.
One of these occurs when I am getting to know someone. While I sit and listen to my clients’ personal life stories, many turn to me and say, “I have never told anyone that before”. When this happens there is always a sense of relief and healing as they share difficult experiences in the safety of a trusted relationship.
Then second experience is the recognition I receive from families and friends. Often after delivering a funeral service, family members will comment on their surprise at how well I got to know their loved one in such a short time. The way in which I connect to residents is all about growing to know who they are and understanding them as an individual so that they can be cared for in their own unique way.