A birthday gift fit for a fan
While our location makes for interesting football and baseball rivalries (NY vs. New England), our Home has absolute basketball unanimity around “the girls”, (UConn Husky Basketball team). Their most avid fan, Peter Bellico, who is approaching his 105 birthday. Peter usually sports a UConn sweatshirt and smiles according to the UConn wins and losses. Another Resident (Fran Abruzio) contacted the UConn to see if a special birthday present could be obtained for Peter. Without much delay, a poster arrived featuring the team members, each autographed and a message, “Happy 105th birthday, Peter. Thanks for being such a great fan.” As soon as it was framed, it was presented to Peter, whose eyes teared at the sight and he said, “My girls.”
Praying for Newtown
Despite all the Christmas events, the Residents wanted to have a special time of prayer families of Newtown CT. So, on Tuesday evening, December 18, we gathered around a statue of Jesus walking with little girl and boy in his embrace. This statue was surrounded with small lights representing those who lost their lives in the tragedy. The Residents and some visitors had brought the lights in procession and placed them at the statue. Using the Readings from the Mass of Holy Innocents along with songs and prayer, we felt very close to this Connecticut community.
October began with “OctoberFest” and ended with “Trick or Treating” at St. Joseph’s Residence. Residents from 5 homes in the region arrived to help celebrate OctoberFest, eating weinersnitzel and enjoy beer and homemade pretzels in the finest German tradition. The beautiful fall day was perfect for a hayride, the wagon pulled by a John Deere tractor. The Residents and their guests kept our farmer busy for most of the afternoon.
As Halloween approached, the Enfield Garden Club, who helps to plant and maintain our flowers here at St. Joseph’s treated the Residents to a night of pumpkin painting to decorate their rooms and the dining rooms on each floor. You were only limited by your imagination. The club also supplied cider and homemade treats for everyone to enjoy, either during the activity or to take back to their rooms for a mid-night snack!
As holiday time approaches the AJJ Knitting group has been busy finishing their projects for this year. As the weather is getting colder they decided to start gift-giving a little earlier this year and presented the South Park Inn in Hartford with 45 men’s hats and mittens, as well as many scarves and hats for the women and children in their shelter. The men’s items are put on the medical van that does outreach each week to those who will not seek shelter as the nights get colder. They also presented Johnson Memorial Hospital with 160 baby caps to use for newborns at the hospital. The hospital representatives arrived with a model, a 10 week old little girl, who was the daughter of one of the nurses. She was happy to try on caps and the ladies had fun being substitute grandmas.
The weekend before Halloween was also “Trick or Treat” weekend at our home. Children and grandchildren of Residents and staff went door to door collecting the first treats of the Halloween season! Candy and costumes are always fun.
AJJ Knitting Story
Mrs. Santa can always use a helping hand and once again this year she has received one from the Saint Jeanne Jugan Knitting Group at St. Joseph’s Residence in Enfield. This group of six Residents and four volunteers spend two hours on Thursday afternoons knitting, chatting and having fun while producing mittens, hats, scarves and infant toys for Christmas. On Thursday, December 1 they presented their chosen local agencies the work of their hands for another year. The North Central Connecticut Network Against Domestic Abuse received over 200 handmade mittens, hats and scarves, the Enfield Police Toy Drive were given knitted soft balls and teddy bears for infants and The NIC Unit at Hartford Hospital received their second donation this year of caps for preemies and newborns. Total baby caps – 250. Prayer shawls and lap robes are also part of the mix and they will go to local cancer patients.
The ancient art of knitting has always invoked conversation and good works and this was the intention when the group was formed in 2004. We started with 11 knitters and two volunteers who had no idea what they would do besides knit a simple prayer shawl and chat. Over the years the faces have changed but the good works keep flowing – and increasing. From prayer shawls they moved onto making knit hats for chemo patients and mittens using patterns that were popular when their children were small. Friends and family contributed a hat or a pair of mittens and other Residents often would ask for yarn and needles so they could knit in their rooms while watching television. Items are made from yarn that is at hand. When the group was asked if they could make newborn caps a bag of baby yarn appeared to provide the proper material. This year the donation will include some special red and white Santa hats, made by one of the volunteers as a “thank you” donation to Saint Frances Hospital. Her grandson, now 12, hangs his newborn Santa cap on his tree each year and will join in the trip to Hartford to make sure that this year’s “Santa Babies” will have the same gift.
Once the New Year arrives, the needles and conversation will begin again and we will all look forward to the “Christmas Yet To Come” but in 2013 we will see a change, which is always a good thing and, for the first time, we will have a gentleman joining in the fun. There is sure to be some lively conversations next year.
On this Veteran's Day, November 11, 2012, We remember.
In honor of our veterans, we have created a Wall of Honor. Residents and staff were asked to provide photos of their loved ones that have served or are serving in the armed services. The activities department created a certificate including the photo and information about the subject. We have fifty two servicemen and women displayed on the wall.
We have been blessed with local armed forces members that join us each year. They have dinner with the residents and join in honoring our veterans following dinner.
This year the home was presented with a flag that was flown over Kandahar, Afghanistan on December 22, 2011. This flag was dedicated to the veterans, past and present of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Enfield, CT
Thank you for your service, dedication and sacrifice for the freedom of all of us.
God Bless you!