We Never Know…

Reprinted from Our Franciscan Fiat

Last evening, I was again working as personal care aide here at St. Anne’s Guest Home.  I often take the back stairs and pass hurriedly by some residents’ room on my way to tend to the needs of a few of their floor-mates.

IMG_1012If I know the person is there, I try to call out a friendly greeting to them.  If time allows, I stop and exchange a few words, asking how they are doing.  I think it is important.  It’s not that I’m so special and they should feel privileged to see me, or anything of that sort.  However, it is an opportunity to cheer a person up, or simply show them that someone genuinely cares about them and is interested in them.

Last night, as I went past a particular resident’s room, I was in a hurry.  I didn’t have lots of time to stop and visit.  I did, however, make the effort to give a friendly greeting, hopefully, showing that I cared…

I have found myself hurrying past a room with a quick ‘hello’ and then stopping, turning around, and giving them a few extra seconds.  It sometimes strikes me: “Nothing you have to do is that important that it can’t wait 30 seconds.  Go back there and show them they’re important.”

~ ~ ~

This morning, at about 3:45 a.m., I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing at our convent.  Sr. Rebecca got around to answering it before I did.  She carried on a bit of a conversation with the caller.  When they had hung up, I learned that one of our residents had just died, the one whose room I had passed on my evening rounds just hours before.

Although I hadn’t had much time to visit, at least I had made the effort to greet him.

We never know what will be our last opportunity to do good to another person, or even what effect a kind word or gesture can have.  I guess this is a lesson to me never to neglect any opportunity to serve Christ in another person.  We’re not guaranteed another chance.

Sr. Christina M. Neumann


Checking in…on ‘the Scoop’

St. Anne's ScoopI would like to take this opportunity to check in with the readers of our ‘St. Anne’s Scoop.’

Would you please share your thoughts?  What kind of posts do you most enjoy?  What do you think about the frequency of it?  Do you have any suggestions?

Also, if you would ever have a topic of pertinence that you would be interested in writing about for publication on ‘the Scoop,’ please let us know.

Thanks, and happy reading!

Not ‘monkeying around.’ Banana Bread Day is coming up!

Easy Cake-Mix Banana BreadIf a person wanted, one could celebrate almost every day of the year.  One such random observance is ‘Banana Bread Day’ on February 23rd.

This observance would not have existed prior to the 1930s, when banana bread became popular as resourceful housewives sought to use whatever they could during the Great Depression.  The availability of baking powder and soda around this time also led to banana bread’s growing popularity.

Below is a highly recommended recipe, originally printed in the St. Paul Pioneer press almost 30 years ago.

Another recipe, used by our dietary staff, uses a yellow cake mix.

Banana Bread (from Pioneer Press [11/2/1988] )
2 mashed bananas
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter with sugar; beat in eggs and mix until fluffy.  Sift flour with baking soda  and salt.  Stir in flour mixture.  Stir in mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla.   Stir in
nuts.  Place in greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan or 2 smaller loaf pans. Let stand for 10 minutes.  Bake at 350º for 30 to 45 minutes or until done.  

Heavily butter your pans otherwise it will be difficult to remove the loaves. Let the cooked loaves rest for 10 minutes after removing them from the oven.  Then run a table knife around the outside of each loaf.  Turn the pan(s) upside down and gently shake the loaves out.

(A special thanks to Bernadette Dutke for sharing this recipe.)

World Day for the Sick

Who of us likes to be sick?  No one, right?  Nonetheless, winter seems to be a time when many of us spend days not feeling too well.  St. Anne’s, in fact, has had a number of residents in this condition recently, whether it be a cold or serious cardiovascular condition.

Today was declared ‘World Day for the Sick’ by St. John Paul II in the early 1990s.  This was over a hundred years after miraculous events in Lourdes, France, where many people travel, to this day, hoping for healing at the sight where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette.  February 11 is, in fact, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.

February is also International Friendship Month.  With these two observances in mind, might we take a look at our own interactions with those we know who are sick?  What might we do for them?  Today can be a call to us to truly be friends to the sick.

During Bible Study last week, we made valentines for the skilled nursing residents at St. Gerard’s in Hankinson.  Today, as we also mark ‘Shut-in Visitation Day,’ might also be a time to consider stopping in to see someone who is unable to get out much because of sickness or ill-health.

We don’t have to limit the word sick only to those with intensive physical symptoms.  There are many others, including here at St. Anne’s, who could use our special friendship and concern.



Do you need a lift?…a little history of the Elevator

P1010002.JPGLast Sunday evening, we had a little excitement here at St. Anne’s. Actually, it is not the first time in recent history that the elevator made life a bit more interesting around here. Our head maintenance man, Jeff, came over, however, and all was well once again. In the meantime, we got a little bit creative, escorting residents to the apartment wing to use that elevator since the one on the basic care side was not being cooperative.

In light of these recent events, we thought it would be fun to share a little history of the elevator, a device taken much for granted by many people.

Elevators, actually, are not the modern novelty you might think them to be. An elevator system may, in fact, have been in use when the ancient Egyptian pyramids were made.

As early as 236 BC, Greek mathematician, physicist and inventor Archimedes, made an early version, operated by “hoisting ropes wound around a drum and rotated by manpower applied to a capstan,” according to history.com. Nor did the Romans neglect vertical motion technology, Did you know that, beneath the Colosseum, they had rooms, pens and tunnels, made accessible by man powered elevators through vertical shafts. The Romans were not the only early civilization having used elevator contraptions. Around 1000 AD, a lifting device was used in Islamic Spain in order to bring up a large battering ram in military endeavors.

By the 1600s, elevator devices were found in palaces of England and France.

Closer to our own era, an elevator system was also used in France by Louis XV. Anyone having read St. Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul may recall her use of the image of an elevator or ‘lift, as a spiritual analogy. By her time (later in the 1800s), stem or water-powered elevators could be purchased. In 1852, Elisha Graves Otis made a monumental invention for elevators, creating a safety break. Other inventions during this industrial century also advanced elevator technology.

Along with luxury for the rich, in more modern times, elevators also served a very practical purpose when stem-powered elevators were used in coal mines. The writer of this post can remember, as a child, being sent far down into the earth in an iron-ore mine in northern Minnesota.