For most of us, when we hear the date 9/11, we think about the horrific acts of terrorism against our country.
Little did I know that God’s plan for me that day would take on a whole new meaning.
For you see, that is the date I started working at St. Anne’s. The first thing that struck me was the acts of kindness happening all around me. Mostly, they are done out of sheer goodness.
Everyday I see my coworkers making a difference in the lives of our residents. There truly is no small gesture. Something as simple as a smile, an ear to listen, a hug to brighten someone’s day, goes a long way.
The following are just a few of the examples I have witnessed:
helping a resident find a shirt and tie for a funeral
shopping for a resident – clothing, soda pop, groceries
sharing a newspaper
picking up a favorite fast food
watching a favorite TV program together
bringing in fleece for residents to make blankets for the hospital VA, etc.
arranging stuffed animals on a bed when making it
bringing in a family pet for them to hold and pet
going for a walk or sitting outside together
bringing in food from a UND wacipi powwow to celebrate a resident’s heritage
This is why I feel God’s love shines through my co-workers.
Holistic medicine is defined as the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors rather then just the physical symptoms of disease. How we live and what we get out of life depends heavily on balance. The philosophical definition of holistic is: the parts of something being interconnected and explicable only by referring to it as a whole (as in a whole person).
As a spiritual community, we all know that a crucial part of sustaining balance in our life goes beyond what we can touch. Nourishing just the mind and body isn’t enough; we need to feed our souls as well. Our spiritual health is important and needs to be addressed as part of our overall well-being.
St. Anne’s has a team that takes care of every part of the residents’ self:
Body: The Dietary department nurtures our body. Nursing is responsible for addressing all medical concerns. Care is given for our senses: hearing, vision, taste, smell and touch. Staff work with outside souces such as Audiology, optometry, ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat), and PT to keep our bodies strong and healthy.
Mind: Psych appointments as well as friendly conversation can lift someone’s mood and brighten their day. St. Anne’s staff and sisters provide much “food” for the soul. A beautiful outdoor area and atrium with life all around, the turtles, fish, as well as the flowers and plants growing everywhere enhances the residents’ lives. Caring for plants and our environment is very helpful to make someone to feel complete.
Spirit: Chapel, church, activities , social events are also a part of holistic health. Chuck and Sr. Elaine make sure there’s plenty of music.
Fresh air, sunshine, good friends, a little music, does more for the well-being than any pill ever could. Sr. Christina helps keep minds sharp with reading and writing. We are encouraged to express ourselves, and we find a friendly face with a smile or listening ear.
St. Anne’s is probably the greatest place I’ve ever worked. Walking in the door, you feel the easy, friendly atmosphere. Sr. Elaine’s unique brand of humor, Sr. Rebecca’s unbelievable kindness and selflessness and Sr. Christina’s news update and articles keep keep things very interesting.
The receptionist and dietary staff and the aides are all warm, kind, caring. Some Creativity and silly, funny people in our daily lives contribute to the positive environment. I feel very blessed to be a part of the St. Anne’s team and part of all of your community.
Some cultures have siestas; others have afternoon teas. As Catholics, we have Coffee and Rolls, and this applies even at St. Anne’s. At a priest at St. Michael’s just down the street, I get to say Mass there on Tuesdays, and I’ve gotten into the habit of joining the sisters and some staff and other friends for a cup of coffee and maybe a cookie or a bar of some sort.
This past Monday I noticed something special was going on at St. Anne’s when I saw everyone was wearing themed T-shirts, even the Sisters. Then Sr. Christina, always diligent about liturgical preparedness, came forward asking how we would celebrate Mass this Tuesday. Normally, in liturgical terms, we would celebrate the “Memorial” of Saints Joachim and Anne, the traditional names passed down for the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (St. Anne, of course, is the namesake of St. Anne’s Guest Home.) Thus the question: will we celebrate the day as a Memorial (its typical designation) or will it be raised to a higher celebration within this institution?
Unsure of which level it would be, we discussed how it could affect the Mass for that day. Will be become a “Feast Day,” meaning we would add the “Gloria” to the Mass, or would it be a “Solemnity”, the highest of Feast Days, which would tell us to also pray the Creed during Mass? That would make it like a SundayMass.
“Well the only difference between the two would be the Creed…” it was said, but I knew there would be more differences than that. After all, the liturgy is supposed to influence us beyond the Mass itself. It tells us to be joyful at certain times and repentant at others.
My mind immediately went to the coffee after Mass. “Well, it will also make a difference in the quality of baked goods served afterward!” I reminded them. Everyone laughed as I intended, but I also hoped they might take it seriously. I wasn’t disappointed.
Spread out on the table after Tuesday’s Mass were full-sized Caramel Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls, fruit pies, various creamers for the coffee, and even multi-colored napkins. The sisters always excel at hospitality, but this was at a new level.
They saw through my half-joking suggestion, and it increased the joy in all of us to celebrate St. Anne once again.