“Serve the sick with such love, as you would serve Jesus Christ Himself; try to save not only their bodies but also their souls, edifying them by Christian love and sacrifice out of love for Jesus so that in such a way they would become worthy to have Jesus as the Healer of their own soul and body. Therefore, when the sisters witness the suffering of the ill, may they ponder upon the illness of their own souls and the manner in which they console the sick, so will Jesus console them”.
– Bl. Edmund
The sudden outbreak of the worldwide Coronavirus Pandemic has brought upon all of us many challenges and has affected all spheres of life. As the spread of the virus gained momentum and the health establishments began noting more and more cases afflicted by the disease, the everyday lives of all Americans changed beyond recognition. The rising wave of anxiety and widespread panic caused by the fear of our own life, and the lives of our loved ones have never been greater. Thus, it is that much more important than in these trying times we remain faithful and place our trust in God.
The Coronavirus outbreak has taken its biggest toll on health professionals and various healthcare facilities across the United States, including our very own St. Joseph’s Senior Home. Needless to say, nursing homes are especially vulnerable to the malice of the virus, as the residents of such facilities are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, which in this age group leads to the most severe variant of the disease. Despite the threat and the grave responsibility which the sisters of St. Joseph’s had undertaken, their care for the sick throughout this critical period remained as tender as ever.
The sisters of the St. Joseph Senior Home fought hard to protect their residents and followed the recommendations of the Department of Health, but the severity of the situation exceeded anyone’s anticipations. As the number of infected cases increased, taking care of the patients was getting more demanding with each passing day. Thankfully, the necessary support was provided by the devoted staff, the sisters from Cherry Hill and Columbus, Ohio, and many laypersons who jeopardized their own health in order to care for the sick. This help was of immeasurable value as it allowed for each patient to be cared for individually until the very last day of evacuation. For this, the sisters remain eternally thankful and keep in their prayers those who offered a helping hand through these trying times.
The sisters not only bathed, dressed and maintained the basic needs of the patients, but most importantly prayed for them and remained by their side until the very last moments. Throughout the fight with the pandemic, the sisters abandoned their commitments and devoted all their energy to providing proper care and conditions for a dignified death. It was of utmost importance to the sisters that the residents enter the Kingdom of God surrounded by love and prayer, after having received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Following the shutdown of the St. Joseph’s Senior Home the sisters remain in close contact with the residents and their family members from whom they have received many messages with thanks for their dedicated service.
”(..) I want to say thank for taking care of my grandmother for the last 7 years. we couldn’t have asked for better care or a more loving environment than what she had at St. Joseph’s. I always said it didn’t feel like a nursing home, it felt more like a family. (…) “
“(…)We couldn’t have asked for better care for Grandma and we will always have a special place in our hearts for St. Joseph’s. We thank you for giving Grandma the gift of God’s love, we hope you will again be able to honor your vocation and serve seniors once again.”
The Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception have been in constant contact with the staff of the CareOne facility, where the residents have been relocated to, asking for regular updates on the condition of their beloved residents. The empty rooms of the facility are a constant reminder of the tragedy that has fallen upon all of us in recent weeks. The sisters continue to pray for the residents who have left the facility and deep down hope that they will reunite soon after this trial of faith has passed. But even then, the memory of those who have passed during these tragic events will remain in their hearts and prayers forever.
St. Joseph, Pray for Us!
Our Lady, Health of the Sick, Pray for Us!
Lord have mercy on us, and on the whole world!