Give Back: Sr. Virginia Connors Offers Massages to Senior Sisters

Amityville Dominican Sister Virginia Connors is excited to once again bring her unique ministry to retired sisters at the Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse in Amityville: massage. 

Recently, she visited the Motherhouse to continue this ministry that had been paused for two years due to the pandemic. 

On a recent Tuesday, S. Ginny, dressed in white, seemed to float from room to room with a cellphone in her pocket that played soothing music from an album entitled, “The Land of Hope and Dreams.”  In the physical therapy room, S. Jean Agnes Geraghty was waiting with her face tucked into a pillowed cradle, ready for her back massage. With expert hands, Sister Ginny delivered memorized massage movements. With more than 40 years of experience, the motions are so familiar to S. Ginny, it’s more like a well-practiced dance. She pushed her fingers on the muscles along S. Jean’s spine, and then pressed pressure points on her neck and head. Then, she rubbed S. Jean’s back in a motion dubbed, “cross country skiing.” S. Ginny chopped her shoulders and then gingerly placed her hands on her head and prayed the word, “peace” aloud.

“I always send them off with peace,” she said, smiling. 

“Touch is so sacred and so needed,” said S. Ginny. Just as Jesus reached out to touch people whether it was a leper, Peter’s mother-in-law or a blind man, Sister Ginny believes that touch is healing. “People go through a lot of trauma in their lives and sometimes just by touching someone an energy goes forth” which she calls “God’s gifts and God’s graces.” Just as we need blood circulating to keep us alive, “I feel God’s graces flowing through their bodies to heal them,” she said.

In her sixty years of ministry as a Sister of St. Dominic of Amityville, she hasn’t always practiced massage. For 29 years, she served as a full-time athletic director, physical education and health teacher at Dominican Commercial High School. When she received her first massage, however, everything changed. It was as if she heard God’s voice whisper: This is your new ministry. 

The Congregation – at that time – was exploring opportunities in the field of holistic health. So, while she continued teaching during the day, S. Ginny was granted permission to attend the New York Center for Holistic Health in Manhasset. She earned her State license as a massage therapist in October 1991 and also earned her certification in AMMA therapy with Eastern and Western modalities of massage. 

For many years, she has given massages as a part of a private practice in the office of Dr. Jennifer LaMonica in Mineola. Although Covid closed the office and in February 2022, she opened a new office in Hollis Queens on 190th Street and Union Tpke.

She especially cherishes providing massage therapy to cancer patients and survivors. “They have been through horrendous surgeries, mastectomies, sometimes their bodies have been mutilated and they are living with those scars. They might be physically or mentally unhealthy, and through God and massage, I try to help them get through a difficult part of their lives,” she said. 

She also loves working with the sisters at the Motherhouse. “It’s just a treasure coming back here,” she said. “I hope to be of service to sisters, and enable them to have a better quality of life through sacred loving touch, through holy hands.” 

Her service to the Motherhouse sisters is monetarily supported through a client of S. Ginny’s for more than 40 years. “Through the generosity of a dear friend of mine, I am able to provide massages for our sisters,” she said. “He loves his massages and wanted the sisters at the motherhouse to enjoy the wonderful experience of receiving a massage.”  

“I really believe this is a sacred ministry,” said S. Ginny. “This is who I am. It is God’s gift to me and my gift to other people.”