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Northeast Woman: Retired RN Extends Caregiving With Ignatian Volunteer Corps

April 21, 2019 GMT

Jacquelyn Sporing spent decades helping others as a registered nurse in Scranton, and her caring spirit continues to drive her in retirement.

The Covington Twp. resident is part of a group of people 50 and older who give back to their communities through the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, which operates locally out of University of Scranton’s O’Hara Hall. Nearly a year into her service with the group, Sporing has given her time and talents to the inpatient unit at Hospice of the Sacred Heart.

“I felt I could be comfortable there,” Sporing said.

It’s a somewhat natural fit for the longtime nurse, who followed her mother into the field. After earning a nursing diploma from Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Sporing earned nursing degrees at University of Scranton and then spent decades as a registered nurse in the emergency room and working in education and staff development at the former Mercy Hospital, now Regional Hospital of Scranton. She called it an interesting and humbling job that showed her just how complicated others’ lives can be, but she enjoyed caring directly for patients.


“The best part of nursing is being at the bedside, at least for me,” Sporing said.

The work exposed her to the realities of life and death and involved speaking with families of patients who died at the hospital, she explained, and even though deaths in hospice are anticipated, patients’ loved ones still feel a lot of emotion. Part of her volunteer work at the hospice involves just lending an ear to people who need someone to listen.

The gig involves a variety of other duties, too, from making meals to sitting with patients.

“I really like the people,” Sporing said. “This staff is really, really great.”

Sporing retired from nursing five years ago and found out about the IVC after reading a Times-Tribune article about it in 2017 and realizing a friend of hers already was involved. A widowed mother and grandmother, Sporing enjoys getting together with her sister and sister-in-law, who live nearby, but the rest of her family has moved away. She had time on her hands in retirement, she said, and saw the IVC not only as a way to give back but also as an opportunity to try something different out of her comfort zone.

The corps’ program also involves a spiritual component, with volunteers gathering together monthly for reflection and prayer rooted in the values of the group’s namesake, St. Ignatius. They have nice conversations about life and how volunteering has affected them, said Sporing, and the group has deepened her faith and opened her eyes to scripture.


“Being Catholic, a lot of the Catholic liturgies and the Bible are all written in parables. ... I feel that the spiritual group, it takes that information and brings it down to an understandable level,” she said.

Sporing noted that she has become more cognizant of things such as the beauty in nature and the kindness in people, and she appreciates it more. Sporing has “had a very blessed life,” she said.

“(IVC) made me realize that whatever gifts I might have, it has allowed me to share them with other people,” she said.

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Meet Jacquelyn Sporing

At home: A resident of Covington Twp., she is the widow of the late George W. Sporing and has three sons, George, Patrick and the late Alexander James. She also has three grandchildren.

At work: Retired five years ago after decades as a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital, now Regional Hospital of Scranton

Inspirations: Her children, family and friends

Aspirations: “If I could make a difference in one person’s life, that would be my legacy, and I’d be OK with that,” she said.

Diversions: Reading, gardening, walking and getting together with family

Aversions: People who are wasteful, whether it be in time, talent or resources

Quote: “Finding God in all things” — the core of Ignatian spirituality