Dear Friends,

This is my annual Christmas letter in which I can bring you up to date on many of my activities throughout 2017. I am hoping that you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas holiday and are looking forward to the new year. I know we all have busy lives and Christmas reminds us of all the blessings, graces and challenges that we have received during this year. I am posting this as a blog on my website too for all my students and faculty friends.

My year has been busy—wonderful in the sense of continuing my affiliation with Florida Atlantic University College of Nursing. I primarily contribute to nursing/caring education in the PhD program and our Doctor of Nursing Practice program. I will continue on at the university for as long as I have my health. I, with 6 other editors completed the book, Handbook for Caring Science: Expanding the Paradigm. It is a comprehensive study of caring science and will be published in 2018 by Springer Publishing Company.

After returning last year from Montreal where I spent the holidays with my sister, Pat and family, this year, I continued to do a lot of travelling, visiting and presenting in many parts of the world. Last January, I spent vacation time in the beautiful Asheville, NC with Nancey France and her husband Bill and friends. I presented at the National Academies of Practice conference in Philadelphia with my colleague, Colonel Marcia Potter from the US Air Force on the development of a Person-Centered Caring Interprofessional Practice Model using my Theory of Bureaucratic Caring as the structural framework (very exciting for me). We have been working on this development for over a year now and it will be implemented by means of policy initiated by the newly appointed Surgeon General of the USAF, Lt. General Dorothy Hogg (the first nurse in the AF to hold this position). I went to Barcelona (before the terrorist attack) to the International Council of Nurses conferences. Over 8500 nurses from around the world were there. My colleague Dr. Jo Wu from Australia and I presented a paper on technological caring and ethics. It is the first time in my career that I had been to the ICN conference. Following that conference, I went immediately to Edmonton, Alberta to the Caring Conference and presented on my theory.

Over the summer, I had a great vacation with my sister Mary. Ken and family, my sister Loretta in Burlington, Ontario, and my brother, Michael in Windsor, Ontario. Mary is continuing in remission from lymphoma. We are all so grateful to God for this recovery. Mike was happy to see me—I took the train from Burlington which was fun. I love trains. I am sorry that I didn’t get to see my sister, Cathy and family. I did get to visit with my friends, Mary Cino and Ann Brodie. Then in August, on Jim’s side of the family, my grandniece, Toni married her beloved Josh in Salt Lake City with a grand celebration. I visited with my PhD classmate and author, Dr. Janice Morse. In August too, we went on a family cruise to the Caribbean, luckily going before we had the terrible Hurricane Irma that devastated many of the islands and parts of Florida.

Well, I have to say that if my beginning 8 months of 2017 was busy, the last four months were really busy. I received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alumni Association, my Alma Mater, the University of Colorado College of Nursing in September. It was a great honor. I enjoyed seeing friends in the Denver area where I lived for many years with my dear late husband, Jim.

I went on a trip to South Africa, in September, first in Cape Town where I taught at Western Cape College of Nursing sharing knowledge of transcultural nursing and caring, then toured around the beautiful city, Table Mountain, and Cape of Good Hope, the rocky promontory at the southern end of the Cape peninsula. We saw many animals (baboons, monkeys, elephants, birds) who delighted us with their unique personalities. We continued the tour to Port Elizabeth learning about the culture and cultural diversity, especially post-apartheid. In Johannesburg, I met with a faculty from the University of South Africa and her colleague a military officer and nurse from the South African Military. It was so inspiring since their interest is also caring science. Our group flew to Kruger National Park where we went on a 3 1/2-day safari in Kapama Game Reserve seeing the big 5 animals (lions, leopards, rhinos, hippos, African buffalo), plus many others, like Zebras, giraffes and jackals, wildebeests, and reedbucks in the bush. It was a challenging experience for me because I was scared at first; we did not have plexi-glass on our vehicle and we were very close to the animals of the wild, especially lions. But all was safe. I loved the giraffes and elephants. We also went to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Having lived close to Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls were beautiful but to me, not as spectacular as Niagara Falls. After my South African visit, I presented caring science, transcultural nursing, and Theory of Bureaucratic Caring in New Orleans, and Washington, DC and to the European Society for Person-centered Healthcare (ESPCH) in London. My sister Pat went with me and we stayed at the historic, parliamentary St. Ermins Hotel. We celebrated the Wall of Honor event for Sir Jonathan Asbridge, the first male nurse graduate of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and President of the European Society at the Florence Nightingale Museum. It was such a special experience. Sir Jonathan’s whole family was there, including my nurse friends, Dr. Colleen Maykut from Edmonton and Dr. Tina South from London, and Lucy Hawkins, the daughter of the famous physicist, Stephen. The ESPCH conference was at Westminster Cathedral—a beautiful venue. We also enjoyed visiting Greenwich with my friends, the boat ride on the Thames, a visit to the Greenwich “mean time” park, the market, had fish and chips and Guinness at an old pub. I fell on a crooked street while in London and still nursing (with physio therapy help) my left leg and right shoulder injury.

In November, I went on an inspiring pilgrimage to Italy with my “God daughter”, Kelly Wahlquist, the founder of Women in the New Evangelization (WINE), and Teresa Tomeo, radio and EWTN TV personality —almost the same venue as last year–visiting the shrines and cathedrals of women saints from Assisi to Rome. Forty-three wonderful and holy women were on the tour. We were privileged to visit Mother Saint Teresa’s convent where she prayed, lived, cared for the sick, and died. We, of course, enjoyed touring the Vatican with Dr. Elizabeth Lev, a famous Vatican and Rome historian. We also learned how to make Italian pizza with real chefs and ate what we made. It was fun amidst the spiritual atmosphere. The pilgrimage was a fitting way to prepare for Advent and the birth of Our Lord. I am staying home for a few months now and look forward to celebrating Christmas with my friends, Carolyn and Tom Brown and family.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2018.

Love, Marilyn