Exceptional Care

by Mary Cella, Volunteer Director

The Newark, Delaware Little Sisters’ Volunteer and Activity departments have formed a partnership with Exceptional Care for Children (ECC), a pediatric nursing facility.  At Christmas time four Residents went to ECC for a tour and wrapped over 100 presents for the children.  This summer Residents collected money to donate to ECC.  ECC sponsors summer camps and they were in need of pool noodles for the children.  Together 15 Residents raised enough money to purchase 20 pool noodles and donate $25.  Three Residents volunteered to represent LSP and with noodles and check in hand went to ECC on July 22.  They also had the opportunity to play with several of the children utilizing their experienced grand parenting skills.  This proves once again it is better to give than receive.







Holy Family Church Youth Group Sponsor a Silver Ball

On Saturday evening, April 28th our residents were treated to a “Silver Ball” sponsored by our nearby parish youth. The youth director, Mare Draper, and her team came early in the afternoon on Saturday and decorated our mall area in a Hollywood theme, complete with a red carpet, Oscar statue, and tables adorned in black with top hats, confetti, popcorn containers as well as gold star balloons. One wall was a Hollywood backdrop effect with a black starry background and white skyline, large palm trees and the word HOLLYWOOD. It looked great.

Activity staff passed out gowns to all the ladies wishing to dress for the event on Saturday morning. The youth came early and attended a 5 p.m. mass prior to the ball. A little before 7 p.m. our residents started arriving and were escorted down the red carpet for a photo opportunity in their beautiful gowns, etc. The DJ played a variety of music and the young ladies and men with a little encouragement asked the Residents to dance. The residents definitely preferred the music from their era but they did not hesitate to get up and learn a few new steps like the Cha Cha Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. Our kitchen staff prepared a wonderful selection of refreshment as well as frozen non alcoholic pina coladas. A great time was enjoyed by all!





5th Annual Rock for the Aged

On April 21, 2012, the Jeanne Jugan Residence celebrated another great friend raiser day at their 5th Annual Rock for the Aged. This year we were rocking for much needed medical equipment. With a 50's theme the auditorium and mall area were decorated and ready for our rockers and friends. Our MC for the day was Bob Piane, Jr. and he kept the auditorium hopping the entire time with the music provided by our own AJJ DJ’s Ron and Con Bright. Our dance floor was really swinging to the oldies and we had a wonderful dance group from a nearby senior center that kept everyone up and dancing.

In addition to rocking and rolling we had karaoke contests and cake walks every hour and well as our door prize drawings. Our food court served up bubba burgers and hotdogs hot from the grill. The Chick Fil A cow paid us a visit and joined right in with the dancing and cake walk. We had lovely donated baskets on the tombola table as well as a few items that we began taking chances on a few weeks in advance that were made by a couple of our Residents, i.e. wishing well, counted cross stitch picture and a cat condo. We also had a fantastic baked table with delectable homemade items for sale. Many of our guests played the wheel and our plinko game to win nice prizes and/or plants. For the children we had ring toss, duck pond pull and bean bag toss all set up in the courtyard and they too won tickets to cash in for prizes tailored just for them. The time went quickly, as we anxiously awaited the drawings from the tombola table as well as our raffles and 50/50.  Everyone was pleased with their winnings and really had a fun-filled day.

Special thanks went out to many of our Association members, employees and volunteers that pulled off the day without a hitch. We raised over $10,000 thanks to our many family members, staff and friends that either sponsored someone or got friends to sponsor them. A special shout out to our Resident, Thelma Brasure, who once again raised the most money for a resident.Way to go Thelma!





The Luck of the Irish Comes To Our Home!

You could feel the excitement. It had been building up for weeks. Who would be the winner of our 3rd Annual Luck of the Irish Sweepstakes? St. Patrick’s Day was the day for the winners to be revealed and one lucky person got a phone call from Mother Joseph telling them they had won the $5,000 grand prize! The lucky winners of the $2,000 and $500 prizes also received special calls.

The Luck of the Irish Sweepstakes makes a huge impact on our home. It provides the means to cover our natural gas and electric bills which cost roughly—a whopping $20,000 per month! As you can imagine, this is such an important fundraiser. It helps us to give our Residents the care and comfort they need and deserve.

The sweepstakes drawing certainly wasn’t the only festivities of the day. Residents, guests and staff alike donned their green and enjoyed a bit of fun and some Irish blarney with the Sisters. The festivities began in the morning with a special St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. Everyone enjoyed delicious waffles with some beautiful fresh fruit. It was a perfect way to start a day full of friends, fun, leprechauns, and for some, a pot of “gold.”





Postulants reflect

It’s Off to Work We Go

by Casey Cole

Yesterday our lives as Franciscan postulants got busy. After a month of a sort of “grace period, (but of course, all periods with the friars are graced…) we were let loose from the house, sent forth into the world to minister. Three days a week, Edgardo will meet with the Legion of Mary where he will be visiting the sick and bringing communion to the housebound parishioners; Ramon and Sergio will drive up to Philadelphia to work at the St. Francis Inn where they will be serving the poor directly; and Dennis and I will be going to a nursing home in Newark to visit the sick and elderly.

Unlike most nursing homes, Jeanne Jugan Residence is a warm, inviting place where almost all of its Residents are happy to be there, and there is a waiting list of a few years to be admitted. This home offers a dignity and respect to each of its residents that I have never seen before: there are two full-time activity coordinators who run games and events every day, the Residents are visited on a daily basis by the Sisters, the food is honestly very good, and the facilities feel more like a big comfortable home than a drafty hospital. The Sisters who run the home actually take a forth vow (along with poverty, chastity, and obedience) of hospitality, vowing to never let anyone feel unwelcome or lonely, caring for those especially on their deathbed. Besides serving those who can no longer serve themselves, the Sisters have a whole wing of the building set aside as apartments for more active and independent people, free to come and go as they please.

All in all, pretty boring job right? Listen to old folks ramble on about the “good ol’ days” and about how “kids these days” are ruining society, right? Yesterday, I played a card game called Tri-Virsity with three sassy women that had me on my toes and laughing the whole time (who also beat me), got a chance to go to mass, ate ribs with the residents living in the apartments, played host to a number of game shows such as “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” then rounded out the day by getting my butt kicked in Wii bowling by someone three times my age (seriously, I bowled a 223 and this old lady beat me by more than 20 pins!)

Because there’s such a range in activity levels, I’m excited to run a Bible study for some, but also be a pair of ears for the lonely ones who never get visitors; play competitive card games, but also push someone’s wheelchair outside so they can get fresh air; listen to some tell me about how I’m “exactly like my grandson” or “perfect for my granddaughter” but also talk without response to others so they know someone’s with them.

For Dennis and I, work looks a bit more like leisure: we play games, we sit and talk, and we enjoy a meal together. But in the end, even though it may not be very “difficult” to do what we’re doing, does it make it any less significant for the person to which we’re ministering? If we want to uphold the dignity of all human life and foster the authentic development of all human life, I think it’s equally as important to play Wii with a lonely old woman as it is to give bread to a hungry young man. Don’t you? When I look at it this way, and realize that God needs help in many different ways, it’s pretty easy to just let go, take a vow of obedience, and minister wherever it is I’m told to go… even if that place is a nursing home.


The Charism of Preaching

Dennis and I hold a bible study every Wednesday.

While acting as Retreat Coordinator and Program Director for my Catholic Campus Ministry in college, I was able to recognize and develop a charism of speaking/preaching. Though difficult and uncomfortable at first, many years of practice helped me to develop confidence, and eventually find great joy in each experience. I can’t say that I’m ready to stand up and give a sermon everyday in front of a church full of people, but given my experience so far, it’s definitely charism that I would like discern for the future. As a postulant, I’ve been given two great opportunities to do just that.

The first opportunity is a shared bible study that Dennis and I run each week at our ministry site, Jeanne Jugan Residence. Usually attended by about 15-20 Residents, Dennis and I spend an hour reading and preaching about a number of passages related to an overall theme, trying to engage the residents in a discussion about their own experiences. So far we’ve looked at women in the Bible, images of God, parables related to the kingdom of heaven, forgiveness and humility, and Christ the King.

Because of the laid-back nature of the Bible study, we’ve enjoyed the chance to preach in an almost pressure-free atmosphere to see what it might be like at a larger venue. The consistency of a weekly Bible study helps to simulate a weekly homily and to get in the habit of preparing beforehand with well written thoughts. On the other hand, it also gives us the opportunity to speak a bit more extemporaneously, honing in our ability to come up with fruitful responses with little preparation.

The second opportunity occurred yesterday when Ramon and I traveled down to Rehoboth Beach, DE, to help with a parish mission. Speaking to some of the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders in religious education, we were given an hour to share about our experience of Church at that age in order to promote a more active involvement. Our tandem speech had three parts, each beginning with participation from the students: 1) what is Church? 2) What can a middle schooler do to be a part of Church? and 3) What does it mean to be an adult in the Church?

Not unlike the bible studies with Dennis, this opportunity allowed us to speak in front of a small group of people on topic of which we are very passionate, gauging the responsiveness of the listeners and adapting our styles based on their questions and responses. But unlike the Bible study, the parish mission required us to prepare a bit more beforehand, and to coordinate our speeches so as to present a common message. Having never given a partner speech such as this, it was certainly a challenging but fruitful experience in teamwork.

If for nothing else, these two experiences have (and will continue) to help me discern the charism of preaching in my own life. I realize that I’ve been given at least a mustard seed worth of this charism, and through practice and prayer will have to wait and see if it grows into a full-sized vocation. As a supplement to my discernment, I’ve also been reading a lot about St. Anthony of Padua: besides being great at finding things, he is noted as being one of the greatest preachers the Church has ever known, and a truly inspirational figure. Hopefully through his intercession I will be able to discern this charism a bit more fully and maybe even have a little bit of his ability rub off on me!






The Little Sisters Welcome Father Anthony to Jeanne Jugan Residence


The Reverend Anthony Pileggi has been appointed our new chaplain effective April 1, 2011.

Prior to coming to our home, Father Anthony was Associate Pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Elkton, Maryland. Father graduated from Neumann College with a degree in communications and attended seminary at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University. Father Anthony was ordained on May 19, 2007 by Bishop Michael Saltarelli.

During a recent conversation with Father Anthony, he offered his thoughts on sharing his life with our elderly Residents. “As a priest, I am concerned for those whose health has been seriously impaired by illness or old age. By the Amazing Grace of God, I will offer them a new sign of hope by the Anointing of the Sick accompanied by the prayer of the faithful (James 5:14). I look forward to celebrating the Eucharist with everyone at Jeanne Jugan Residence. In helping them to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, the bread from heaven, will help them find hope that only God can give.”

Quoting Blessed Pope John Paul II, “Old age is a gift for which we are called to give thanks … life is always a gift.” We asked Father how, as the new chaplain he expects to share this enrichment with our Residents, staff and the Little Sisters of the Poor. Father Anthony answered: “I hope to develop a better understanding of God’s love for all of us through weekly bible study groups or book clubs for those who might be interested in learning more about their faith.”

Father Anthony has a God-given talent with his affinity for music and hopes to share this passion through liturgical music. He has been a church organist since he was very young and looks forward to incorporating liturgical music in the celebration of the Mass. By singing the Kyrie, Gloria and Agnus Dei during Mass, Father Anthony feels this musical expression will enhance the liturgy and provide a beautiful experience for all who attend the celebration of the Eucharist in our chapel.

During our most recent Rock for the Aged event, Father Anthony joined in the Karaoke contest with a version of “That’s Life.” After this unique performance, Father Anthony said, “I don’t have a lot of talent, I don’t have a lot of skills but I do have a lot of love for you (Residents), and that’s what it is all about.”


According to God's Plan

My mother, Catherine Helen (Burke) Wittekind, was born with "blue baby" syndrome in 1925 in New York City and was told that she would never be able to ride a bike or play sports. In the early 1940’s my mom had a surgical procedure to repair the symptoms of this heart impairment. The prognosis, in terms of life expectancy, was age 35, but God had other plans for my mom.

My mom married my dad, Eugene when she was 30. Because of her past medical history, she was advised not to have any children. Over the next 14 years, my parents were blessed with one daughter, myself, and 6 sons. Medical diagnosis was defied according to God’s purpose for our family. My dad served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, which provided an opportunity for our family to travel extensively throughout this period. It was indeed, faith, which carried my parents though every step of their journey (Massachusetts, Alabama, Germany, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Australia, Connecticut, Indiana and South Carolina). After my dad’s passing in 1999, my mom moved to Arizona to be closer to four of my brothers.

Because she never lived alone during her entire life, when it was time for my mother to enter a nursing facility, we were extremely fortunate to learn of Jeanne Jugan Residence from the Oblate Sisters in 1999. The Little Sisters of the Poor graciously accepted my mother into their home in Newark in 2003 until her recent passing in February, 2011. For over seven years, Catherine enjoyed the companionship of her fellow residents but also the many friends, staff, volunteers and especially the hospitality of the Little Sisters. The latter stage of my mom’s live was filled with happiness and joy with her involvement with the Red Hatters, her love of Bingo and the many social activities at Jeanne Jugan Residence.

My blessings from the Little Sisters were their precious gift of hospitality and peace and I am forever grateful for the Home Mom was blessed to have enjoyed at Jeanne Jugan Residence.










Going to Chile's Ground Zero

We have learned that both of the homes affected by the earthquake in Chile are being completely evacuated. Thank God, we are able to welcome the Little Sisters and elderly in our other three homes in Chile. So, while those from the older home in Santiago will be split between the newer home there and our community in Viña del Mar, those from Concepcion are on their way to Osorno.

Sister Maria emailed this touching message from Santiago (she is in the home that remains functional): “The Residents have been very generous here. Actually, after Mother told them that they would have to cooperate in making space for those from the other home in their rooms, the reactions varied greatly. Some really felt the sacrifice of having to share their room, while others couldn’t wait until lunch was over to go make space for someone. In the midst of helping move beds and other furniture in all the rooms in the infirmary, one of the Residents from my unit came pleading that I please go upstairs with her for a bit. She had emptied all but one drawer from her closet and chest of drawers and cleared out half of her hanging closet. She wanted my advice on how best to arrange her bed to fit in another. I was so touched by her charity that I cried. Then another Resident in that hall came to ask me to see her room too. There were so many literally thrilled to be able to make some sacrifice and contribution ‘because we have it so easy here compared to what we see in the news.’”

Sister Maria continues, “Tomorrow afternoon we plan to leave for Concepcion with flashlights, tons of batteries, bread and water. It sounds like we’re going camping… Most of our Residents from Concepcion have moved to our home in Osorno. They had been using what remained of the main dining room for everything—Mass, meals, space for the infirm Residents—but the fissure that ran down the center of the floor split completely open with the aftershock this afternoon. On the Richter scale it was almost a 6.0 earthquake. There’s no electricity there yet so I obviously don’t expect to email for some time… Like our Residents here I am very grateful and happy to be getting right into the thick of it. Thank you for your constant prayer…