Special grant awarded for opioid grief support

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Sister Madeleine Joy, SP

Sister Madeleine Joy, SP

Have you experienced the loss of a loved one from addiction? Here is an example of a program offering a source of support. Sister Madeleine Joy, SP, an experienced grief counselor, is part of a special grant awarded to provide grief support for families and friends “who lost loved ones to substance abuse disorder.”

With funds from the City of Westfield’s Drug Addiction and Recovery Team (DART), Sister Madeleine, with her co-facilitator Cindy Hadge, began meetings via teleconference on July 7, 2020 which are free for the residents of Westfield and eight surrounding towns. Every Tuesday the support groups—consisting of those who have lost a loved one more than six months ago to addiction—gather remotely.

Although there are many grief support groups, those that focus on loss due to overdose are rare.

Sister Madeleine also is concerned about stigma, saying, “Due to the stigma that so isolates those who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction, I see it as so important to offer non-judgmental and compassionate care during this incredibly painful time in people’s lives.”

The former Chaplain at Farren Care Center in Turners Falls and Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., Sister Madeleine specializes in Recovery Spirituality, Cancer Care, Grief and Loss and Long Term Mental Health and Addiction Care and Treatment. She is a facilitator of the 12-step Recovery Programs at Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center. A graduate of Boston College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, she also has been certified as a Chaplain in Pastoral Care.