the papernurse

Why papernurse?

On december 11, 2010 I read this article in the newspaper and was blown away.  It's about adults writing to Santa because they are alone and often in desperate situations.  They need someone to talk to so they write to Santa.  Although Canada Post loves to answer kids' letters to Santa, they would rather adults get help somewhere else...

I immediately wrote to the journalist asking her to put me in touch with the person in charge of the Santa letters at Canada Post because I wanted to take on that job.  I wanted to write back to each one of these adults.  I didn't need to read their letters, I'm not a psychologist or in a position to fulfill their specific needs, I just wanted to send each one a handmade card.  Something to cheer them up, something sweet and addresed to each one personally that would arrive in their mailbox, pass through their hands, touch their heart and make their day.

But Canada Post said no.  They replied that although these "adult letters are a reality", it is not something they want to encourage nor do they want to put a special program in place to respond to them.  Their objective with the newspaper article was to guide adults to other resources who could help them.

I started remembering the special cards I've delivered over the years; to a neighbour feeling down, to friends who needed it.  I've made strangers on a neighbourhood street and even my butcher, smile, grin and beam and warmed the hearts of the regulars at my cafĂ© on Valentine's Day [for a few years now]. I've also treated the elderly clients of a local Meals on Wheels to personalized words of cheer...  

I started thinking about papernurse ...

Then on Valentine's Day, I received a letter that changed my life.  It was totally unexpected.  An almost random act of kindness ...

I've been building papernurse in my heart and head ever since.



Who is the papernurse?

I'm Patsy Van Roost, originally from Belgium but calling Montreal home for many years.  I've been designing and producing cards since 1995, just after I graduated from Concordia University in Fine Arts.  I ran par patsy, a wedding invitation business for 15 years then graduated from UQAM in Event Design.  I am obsessed (and fascinated!) by paper, words, people and their stories and public space.  You can check out some of my art work here and if you love stories, here's mine.