Firsthand Encounters Martin and Corretta King

January 15, 2018

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s, “I want to do God’s will” final sermon, I had the special opportunity to introduce members of our faith community, Drs. Dorothy and Allen Calvin, to my fellow hospice professionals.  In addition to sharing about his firsthand experiences with Martin Luther King Jr, Allen shared about the The Discernment Process as he journeyed with the Jesuits and how meaningful that has been in helping him seek God’s will in decision-making.

Dr. Dorothy Calvin shared about her firsthand experiencing caring for Corretta and her family following MLK’s assassination.  The best recording of Dr. Calvin sharing his firsthand experiences with Martin Luther King Jr is his guest speaking at Point Loma University (this link begins where he is introduced by his fellow student Dr. Jeffery Clark).

Below is the program with links to the remembrance of Martin in the song “Southern” and Dr. Calvin’s sharing on how seeking divine guidance and the discernment process helps us transcend our own agenda and ask what we can do for those who are hurting around us “we as a people, we as a nation”

Blessing to you all and may we continue to seek Martin’s vision of freeing the oppressed,

Rev. Jason Hotchkiss

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's last message, “I just want to do God’s will”

A conversation with the Calvins on Discernment and Divine Guidance in the Life of the VITAS Professional

Welcome ~ Jason Hotchkiss

“Southern” ~ O.M.D.

Introducing the Calvins

“I just want to do God’s will” reflections by Dr. Allen Calvin

“Life with Corretta King” memories by Dr. Dorothy Calvin


Closing and Blessing

Rev. Ruth Lesher, Bereavement Service Manager, shared appreciation and blessing for the Calvins.


Allen marched with MLK, attended rallies, church services, supported his family and eventually cared for MLK’s wife Corretta, after her husband was killed.  Dr. Calvin is president emeritus at Palo Alto University.  He is a Jewish man who lost some of his family during the Holocaust.  Resonating with the oppression of African Americans, he fought alongside MLK and other civil rights leaders during the 1960s and 70s.  When I asked about the risk that he took going into a church where MLK was preaching as the only white man, he said "It was much safer inside the church.” It is quite clear that Martin’s desire “to do God’s will” was a higher power motivation to push through constant fears and eventually make the ultimate sacrifice.

Dr. Calvin has taken the question of God’s will seriously for many years.  He has learned discernment as a Jew, as a Jesuit and from being married to a Protestant woman, Dorothy.  He has committed himself to Interfaith dialogue and action on finding peace in his homeland, Israel.  So, we thought it would be a good way to honor Dr. King by reflecting on how seeking God’s will provided strength to his mission.  In the same way, we all have a “mission” to care for patients and families while being supported a VITAS culture of empowerment and togetherness.  Living for a purpose beyond ourselves is how we transcend the trials of our mission.

We, as a People, will get to the Promised Land
— Martin Lurther King Jr.