It’s hard to believe that St. Joseph’s here in Louisville has been open for 20 years, since May 15, 1991. How best to celebrate this special milestone? Ideas started flowing and instead of making just the day special we decided to make the whole week special by creating a “Resident’s Week” and a celebration of our 20th Anniversary.
Prior to our week of celebration we sent letters out to family members of our residents. They were asked to help honor their loved one by writing a special letter describing how the Resident has become a Legend for their family members. After receiving all the letters we placed them in a book titled “Legends in our Home” and displayed it for Residents, staff and Sisters to read and enjoy. We made copies to give each resident. They were deeply touched by the letters their own family members wrote to them. And we were very moved too.
The week started on Sunday, May 15th with a special Mass of Thanksgiving. On Monday, our Auditorium was transformed into a museum featuring the history of our home for the past 20 years. The stage was decorated with the three banners of Jeanne Jugan. The walls were covered with twenty years of pictures and props depicting parties, contests and events. A special corner with photo albums to look through that covered the groundbreaking ceremony to present activities in our home enabled many to recall the beginnings and to better appreciate our history here in Louisville. On one wall we honored every Resident who has gone before us with their names and the year they had died on a roll call. Our museum stayed open throughout the week for the Residents and family members to come in at their leisure to enjoy.
On Tuesday, St. Margaret Mary’s Beta Club students came to share with the residents what life was like “Then and Now”. They started out watching a video that described what kind of games the residents used to play, such as hopscotch, jump rope, or GI Joes. We also used props to encourage conversation such as a water basin, a homemade ice cream maker; old records, and a clothesline. The children brought in some of the items to share with the residents. In watching the residents with the students we could see how much they enjoyed the time together.
Wednesday was the big Gala Dinner. The Evansville home sent us prom dresses for the Residents to wear. Residents also were able to choose from a selection of formal ware, as well as what they would like to eat. Members of the Association of Jeanne Jugan looked impressive in their white shirts and black slacks and were real pro waiters and waitresses at the service of the Residents.
On Thursday, we revealed the answers to the “Who’s Who?” game. Each Resident gave us three facts about their lives. The facts about the Resident were listed without the name and everyone had to guess from a list of names which resident it sounded most like. Everyone learned something new about many of the residents and had fun in the process.
What is a celebration without Bingo? Friday we celebrated Residents’ week with a game of Money Bingo! The Residents were excited when they won double the money!
Saturday, we honored Our Blessed Mother with a May Procession and crowning Our Lady of Fatima. Ian Cox, (see article below) an Eagle Scout had asked if he could do his Eagle Scout project around the home several months before. The statues of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children that were brought from the old St. Joseph’s Home (opened back in 1869) had been resurrected and restored in preparation for this very special day. Our Eagle Scout created a lovely garden area where one can go and pray on the new benches or view this spot of solitude from the infirmary Dining Room.
After the ceremony finished everyone enjoyed root beer floats in the ice cream parlor.
On Sunday, May 22nd the Association of Jeanne Jugan had their annual Mother’s Day Tea. The Residents invited their families to join them for the afternoon. The tables were decorated with centerpieces of fresh flowers. The Association had a table full of delicious tea sandwiches and desserts. Piano music was provided along with a sing-a-long to honor our mothers. There were over 100 people present! It was a great way to end the celebration of our home’s 20th Anniversary.