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Monthly Archives: February 2014

As we enter into the Lenten season at Milwaukee Catholic Home, we’ll be offering an array of opportunities for prayer and spiritual growth for our residents, families and friends.  We hope you can join us for some or all of these events.

Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday Service
10:00 am, St. Anne Chapel
Mass for Ash Wednesday
4:00 pm, St. Joachim Chapel

Taize Prayer
Wednesdays in Lent (March 5th – April 16th)
7:00 pm, St. Anne Chapel

Stations of the Cross
Fridays in Lent (March 7th – April 11th)
3:00 pm, St. Anne Chapel

Lenten Scripture Study
Sundays in Lent (March 9th – April 13th)
1:30 pm, Card Room, 5th floor of The Residence

Presentation: The Spirituality of Dorothy Day
Friday March 7th
1:00 pm, Astor Room
“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” (Dorothy Day)
Please join us  for a presentation by Sr. Frances Cunningham, OSF on the spirituality of Dorothy Day, twentieth century Catholic activist, writer and advocate for the poor and marginalized.

The American College of Health Care Administrators has selected Milwaukee Catholic Home as one of the recipients of the Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award.  Every year, ACHCA recognizes the leaders of top-performing skilled nursing providers across the country through this award.  In 2013, ACHCA used MDS quality indicators, occupancy numbers, and three years of survey data to identify top performing providers.  MCH performed in the top quartile on a number of clinical indicators and had excellent results in our annual clinical survey, fire safety evaluation, and ongoing customer satisfaction.

We’re honored to be recognized by the ACHCA, and are grateful for the opportunity to acknowledge the great work our staff does on a daily basis to offer compassionate care to each of our residents and their families.

 

 

Despite the record-breaking winter weather, art is growing and flourishing at Milwaukee Catholic Home.  This February and March,  the Health and Rehabilitation Center will be hosting an ongoing exhibit of art created by residents from our skilled nursing and rehabilitation apartments.

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The art was created in the context of a variety of art classes and art therapy sessions, including the “Memories in the Making” Program of the Alzheimer’s Association.  It includes work in several different mediums.  Giving residents the opportunity for artistic expression is an ongoing, important component of Milwaukee Catholic Home’s programming, and is often an important aspect of physical and cognitive therapy as well.

“It is not only the artwork that is produced that is meaningful, but the experience of creating art that often provides the most life-enhancing moments,” said MCH art therapist Becky Prusko.  “When given the opportunity to create art in a supportive environment, the artists often feel comfortable sharing their wisdom, memories and feelings with other group members and facilitators.  They feel as if they are a part of a community.  If an artist has difficulty expressing their thoughts verbally, often their art becomes their voice.”

The exhibit will open on February 14th with a special happy hour and reception for the artists and their families, and will be on display through March 15th.  If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and take a look around!

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Back in October of 2012, a group of staff from Catholic Charities came to Milwaukee Catholic Home for lunch and a tour.  As staff from both organizations connected, they realized they had a lot to offer each other.  Gradually, an idea took shape – using some of the resources of Catholic Charities’ behavioral health programs, Milwaukee Catholic Home could offer a discussion and support group for residents encountering the changes and transitions that come with aging.  The program would be called “Connections.”

This month, the group will meet for the first time.  Before the first meeting of the group, participants have been invited through a survey to share ideas for what they might like to focus on in conversation.  A trained social worker from Catholic Charities will facilitate and guide discussion.

Mandy Bibo, Director of Behavioral Health at Catholic Charities, thinks the group will offer a unique opportunity for residents to come together with those who face the same challenges they do.  “The purpose of Connections is for residents of MCH to come together to support and help one another through life experiences and transitions,” she said.  “It is a way for others to connect and learn that other residents are also experiencing similar life situations.”

Anne Spoerl Headshot

Anne Spoerl, Pastoral Care Associate

Dorothy is one of the hundreds of persons whose spirit will forever remain as part of our Milwaukee Catholic Home community.  She was a single lady in her nineties who moved into our Health and Rehabilitation Center when challenges of immobility and self-care made it impossible for her to safely continue living in her East Side home.  “I’ve outlived all my family and friends,” she told me on the day that I first met her. “I feel so alone.”

With her winsome smile and quick sense of humor, Dorothy began to touch the hearts of staff and residents who came to know her as the days went on.  She had only a few belongings.  Many of the staff who were sensitive to the fact that she had no visitors would bring her small gifts of socks and slippers and headbands that she would proudly don as she sat in her highback chair.

Eventually the terminal illness that had initiated Dorothy’s admission caused a more rapid physical decline.  She lost her appetite and no longer came to the Dining Room.  She slept at long intervals.  Dorothy’s bodily functions were slowing down as the inner work of her spirit was preparing for its journey toward eternal life.

One morning as I strolled down the 3 West hallway, her nurse darted out of her room. “Anne, Dorothy is actively dying and the staff is very upset.”  I walked into the room.  Dorothy lay so still, her breathing was shallow, her countenance was smooth and devoid of any pain or tension.  In the corner of her room four nursing assistants and the housekeeper stood huddled together, several of them weeping aloud.  One of them turned to me to tearfully whisper, “She is all alone with no family to be with her while she is dying.”  I put my arms around her and replied, “No, Dorothy has all of you here with her.  She has so much love with her in this room.  I’ve watched how you all care for Dorothy, how you treat her like one of your family.  She is with us now and we are her family.”

I asked the staff to gather around Dorothy’s bedside so that she could better sense our presence with her.  We all encircled her tiny body waiting to be born into the full realization of the mystery of God’s eternal embrace.  I assured them that Dorothy could hear our voices.  I closed my eyes as we surrounded Dorothy and held each other’s hands.  I prayed, “Dear Lord, please grant our dear Dorothy a peaceful passage from this circle of love here on earth into your circle of heavenly love and all there who await her.”

We all started praying together.  “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”  We continued in unison.  “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  We prayed together slowly. “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  We prayed together tearfully. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.” Amen.  I believe.  At that moment we gazed at Dorothy as she softly took her last breath.  We stood in silence.  We looked at one another.  We looked down again at our beloved Dorothy.  Some of us wept.  Others simply continued with, “Praise God.”  God granted our prayers as Dorothy entered peacefully from one circle of love into another.

I have been blessed to be part of a community of caring staff and residents and families whose mission is to sustain the circle of God’s love here at The Milwaukee Catholic Home.