St. Anthony Messenger

You and Your Health: Blessed Be Technology

woman sitting at a computer

Nancy Clemmons loved to drive the California freeways. At 16, she got her driver’s license although her left eye, damaged at birth, was only 75 percent functional. Three years later her ophthalmologist discovered the beginnings of Stargardt disease: juvenile macular degeneration. Nancy renewed her license and went through laser treatments that were supposed to slow the progression. They didn’t.

By 23, she knew she was no longer a safe driver and handed her car keys to her dad. But that didn’t stop her. She graduated from UCLA in 1974, worked at the family business for three years, went to the University of San Francisco and graduated with a master’s degree in theology. She taught high school for two years and then entered the convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in 1981.

As Sister Nancy Clemmons, SNJM, she did part-time vocations work and parish work, attended UCSB (University of California at Santa Barbara) and received a master’s degree in religious studies. She returned to full-time parish work for 10 years and is in her eighth year as technology coordinator for her sisters in Los Gatos, Calif.

A Full Life

Sister Nancy is a role model for people with disabilities. She does not engage in self-centeredness or self-pity. She identifies her needs and finds a solution. She finds comfort from St. Paul: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).

Technology plays an essential role in helping her live a full life. She uses CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) with a zoom lens, which enlarges anything she places on the platform: book pages, buttonholes, or a medicine bottle’s fine print. Her computer is equipped with a large-print keyboard and magnification software.

Sister Nancy subscribes to three different services—Xavier Society for the Blind, Recording for the Blind and the National Library Service from the Library of Congress—to download professionally narrated books. These services are free for eligible persons.

Spiritual Aspect

She says her own technology work is a “Christ-centered ministry of healing” because she not only fixes computer hardware and software for others, but also tends to the users of the equipment. She listens to them and fixes their computer problems; often they walk out with a smile, feeling better.

She uses technology to pray the Divine Office and to look up Scripture passages. She takes care of her spiritual and physical health, saying, “Technology is always on, but human beings are not. I try to maintain a healthy holiness and unplug from technology from about 4 p.m. Saturday until about 9 a.m. Monday.”

Look for ways that technology can enrich your life. Let it work for you!


Handy Tips

  • Have your eyes examined regularly for AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration). Early detection can slow progression.
  • Explore ways that technology can make your life easier and lessen your isolation.
  • Acknowledge your condition. You do not have to like it, but you must accept it and adjust for it.

Next Month: Be Your Own Advocate


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