St. Anne’s Home World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
Sunday, July 23
Someone had the idea that one of the best ways to give pleasure to our Residents would be to have a family picnic for them on the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, and what a great idea it was!
We began planning a month in advance. Every department was involved in some way. Barbara Anderson and Maria Gomes, long-time AJJ associates played major roles in the preparation as a well as in the execution of the event. In usual style, they went above and beyond, putting in the extra effort before, during, and after the event. Jared Manini, an AJJ associate who grew up volunteering at our Home with his family, remembered family picnics from long ago and promptly volunteered himself and his family to join our kitchen staff to help with the barbeque.
Families and friends were invited to come honor their elders with their presence. We were delighted to have a total of approximately 95 guests that included a good number of grand and great-grand kids. Our prayers for good weather were answered, the sun peeked out every now and then, and there was a gentle breeze, but it was neither too cold nor too hot. Although with July being one of the coldest months of the year, we were prepared with hats and blankets.
On July 19, in preparation for the World Day for Grandparents and Elders, Residents were offered a retreat day with Fr. Michael Strange, a good friend of our Congregation, which included confession, the anointing of the sick, a conference and holy hour. They were well prepared. When the big day actually arrived, we began with Mass celebrated by Fr. Strange emphasizing how valuable they were to the generations following them and what a difference their prayers make. He reminded our Residents that they have valuable experience, time, and love to pass on to those around them.
Our Residents learned the theme song for the day which was written for the occasion by one of Sisters, Sr. Constance, “His Mercy is from Age to Age.” With the assistance of Marilyn Charm, who for many years has directed a choral group at Convent of the Sacred Heart and who also serves as the musical director of the school’s annual play, Residents put all they had into practices, and it showed when they opened the picnic with their performance.
Benefactors helped to round out our picnic fare with donations of ground beef, corn, and other picnic items. Resident families contributed a variety of desserts to complete a sweet spread. In the words, of St. Jeanne Jugan, “What would we do without our benefactors!”
Residents, Sisters, staff, volunteers, and guests all shared in the excitement of the day. Residents who did not have family members joining them were adopted by Sisters, staff or volunteers. There were games, fun, and laughter, but more importantly love was in the air with everyone enjoying spending time with their elders. It was a dream come true and proof that His mercy really is from age to age.