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Yearly Archives: 2019

MCH resident and artist Linda Commer reflects on the words of artist Carmen Herrera: “I find inspiration in the simplicity of a straight line.” Linda notes that people often ask her where her ideas come from. “Perhaps years of eliciting the inspirational straight line into my photography, weaving, painting, basketry and jewelry have, now, found me in today’s ink and color designs.”

Please join us for a wine and cheese reception in celebration of Linda’s art on January 7th at 4:30 PM. Proceeds from artwork that is sold will go to MCH Dementia Care Excellence program: “Everyday Amazing!” Linda’s art will be on display throughout the month of January and highlighted at our Annual Partnership event on January 23rd.  For more information on our Partnership event call 414-220-3214.



Our popular event is back this Christmas season!  On  Friday, December 6th  Milwaukee Catholic Home will be hosting Santa and several LIVE REINDEER.

Enjoy cookies, cocoa, photo opportunities, and holiday music from 2 pm—4 pm.  An intergenerational educational program about reindeer will take place at 3:30 pm.  Feel free to bring your own camera!

‘If you wish to have your photo taken, an RSVP is required.  Please contact Tori Smith at tsmith@milwaukeecatholichome.org or 414-220-3229 to request your spot.




Because the fall season seemed especially short this year, the weather outside has already turned frightful! The most wonderful time of year is just around the corner; the time for, among other things, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and for city sidewalks to be dressed in holiday style. Yes, it really is beginning to look more and more like Christmas.  

While we make our holiday shopping lists and check them twice this season, we cannot forget that this is also the perfect time of year to make charitable giving a priority.  

Here are some of the ways that Milwaukee Catholic Home is choosing to celebrate this season of giving: 

Holiday Food Box Program 

Residents, staff, and friends of Milwaukee Catholic Home certainly got into the charitable spirit by recently participating in the Capuchin Community Services’ Holiday Food Box Program. The annual Holiday Food Box Program provides central city families in need with food baskets that contain all the fixings for a festive meal during both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. 

During the month of November, MCH staff and residents worked diligently to promote the Capuchin’s charitable appeal. While the initial goal was to fill and donate 25 food boxes, their efforts were clearly successful, as 50 food boxes were filled and returned to the Capuchin’s for distribution. In addition, $900 in cash was collected for donation to this cause. 

Everyday Amazing-Dementia Care Excellence 

“Everyday Amazing”, Milwaukee Catholic Home’s Dementia Care Excellence program, is an integral framework we use in caring for those with memory loss.  It is through our emphasis on compassion, sensitivity, and individuality that provides opportunities for community and connection to others and the world.  

Our “Everyday Amazing” philosophy features a variety of approaches that are evidence-based and research-driven. We make it a priority to continually update our programs and offerings to include elements of the latest research in cognitive health and overall wellness that meet the individual needs of our residents. 

For more information on how you can contribute to Everyday Amazing, visit the Charitable Giving page on our website or contact Caitlin Elftman at celftman@milwaukeecatholichome.org.  

Employee Appreciation Fund 

At this time of year, Milwaukee Catholic Home residents are invited to consider contributing to the Employee Appreciation Fund.  Since MCH employees do not accept tips throughout the year, this appeal has become a very important way for residents to show the organization’s marvelous employees how much their generous work is appreciated.  The gifts are distributed in December to the approximately 300 hourly staff members.  

For more information on how you can contribute to the Employee Appreciation Fund, contact Caitlin Elftman at celftman@milwaukeecatholichome.org.  

Everyone knows that common physical ailments, often, require a visit to the doctor’s office. One quick visit to an Urgent Care facility or an emergency room can quickly alleviate illnesses and relieve pain better than you could yourself. But having a doctor fix a physical problem that you cannot is only one aspect of putting your health first; paying attention to your emotional state of mind is another.  

There are times when everyone, for any number of reasons, feels overwhelmed by their circumstances. No matter what may be bothering you on a personal level, it is essential to make yourself and your well being priority, and never lose focus on maintaining a high-quality mental health. 

Autumn scene. Bright colorful landscape yellow trees in autumn park. Fall nature.

Through “A Life Engaged”, Milwaukee Catholic Home provides countless opportunities that engage our five pillars of Whole Person Wellness. These five pillars of social engagement, cognitive health, physical health, nutrition and spiritual wellness are incorporated into daily life with intention and consistency. One upcoming program takes another look at wellness as it relates to nature, and how it can improve an individual’s mental health.  

Have you ever felt an indescribable sense of peace while looking at the colorful foliage on a chilly autumn morning? Does the sight of a serene lake, or the sound of the ocean wave hitting the beach, make you feel calm and content? That’s what Philip Chard, renowned psychotherapist, book author, and Milwaukee Journal contributor, believes. Milwaukee Catholic Home is thrilled to host Chard for “Nature’s Way” on Wednesday, November 6th at 10:00 am in the Astor Room. Research shows nature interaction is essential for mental wellness.  When we take time to be still, listen, observe, and engage with our surroundings, we experience a host of psychological and spiritual benefits.  

This presentation, and other future programming at Milwaukee Catholic Home, allows our residents, staff, and friends to be healthy in every possible way. We hope you can join us and learn a valuable lesson on how to make your mental health a priority, and how acknowledging the majesty of nature is an impactful way to do that.

In the blink of an eye, another summer is coming to an end, which means the end of summer vacation, blistering heat and humidity, and days lounging by the pool. While there is plenty to miss about the summer season, there is certainly plenty to look forward to in the autumn months ahead. This is the time of year to embrace hearty home cooked meals and aromatic spices. It’s time to break out your favorite boots and sweaters and to cheer on your favorite football teams. But perhaps the thing people most associate (and most look forward to) about the autumn season at Milwaukee Catholic Home is the Fall Harvest Festival.  

Join us for our annual Fall Harvest Festival on Thursday, October 10th celebrating the harvest from Clare Gardens, our organic farm-to-table community garden! From 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, you’ll have the chance to enjoy raffles, fresh bakery, an art gallery, pumpkins, fresh produce, honey and salsa, a delicious chili lunch, used book sale, and specialty vendors of gifts and crafts. This event is free and open to the public. 

The Fall Harvest Festival is a fun-filled day in celebration of fall, the harvest season and our Milwaukee Catholic Home community. Our residents help make the fresh salsa (with the produce from Clare Gardens), spiced pecans, and fresh bakery. They volunteer on the day of the festival, working at the different venues and greeting and welcoming our guests. Our dining services makes the delicious chili lunch, a bargain at $10.00 for the chili, baked potato and all the fixings and a beverage! Quarts of “chili to go” are also an option for those times when you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have the time. Staff are involved alongside the residents, and you can feel the true spirit of community that is so alive and well here at Milwaukee Catholic Home! 

“At Milwaukee Catholic Home, we emphasize whole person wellness, and healthy eating is a significant part of that,” said MCH CEO Dave Fulcher. “The Fall Harvest Festival is a great way for our residents and for those in our community to reap the many benefits of the Clare Gardens project.”  

Although another summer has come and gone, there is so much to look forward to about the autumn months ahead, including Milwaukee Catholic Home’s Fall Harvest Festival. For more information on this signature event, contact Amy O’Connor at aoconnor@milwaukeecatholichome.org or 414.220.3214. 

It’s a little bit scary just how talented Milwaukee Catholic Home resident Paul Salsini is, as he proves with his latest novel, “The Ghosts of the Garfagnana: Seven Strange Stories from Haunted Tuscany.”

Salsini’s book focuses on the strange and other-worldly things that have been known to happen in Garfagnana, a rugged region in the heart of Italy. Still undiscovered by floods of tourists, this northwest corner of Tuscany is known for its vast landscapes, soaring mountains, rippling streams, and tiny villages, villages that seem to be frozen in time. It is also here that unknown, mysterious things have been known to take place. These eerie sightings have been known to include a friendly ghost who resides in a monastery, a soldier who died in a brutal battle, and a troupe of passed souls who make their presence known in a local theater.  

That’s where Paul Salsini comes into the picture. In “The Ghosts of Garfagnana: Seven Strange Stories from Haunted Tuscany,” he beautifully illustrates how these stories not only span centuries but are all interconnected to each other, all of course with a spooky twist. Salsini’s unique voice and perspective has long been praised by many; the Italian Tribune has been most recent to compliment him; “The author’s easy and engaging style instantly grabs the reader and his story lines consistently make for enjoyable page turners, equally suited for cold, stormy nights and hot summer days.”  

This is not the first time Paul’s writing has been published. He is also the writer of “The Cielo: A Novel of Wartime Tuscany,” “Sparrow’s Revenge, A Novel of Postwar Tuscany,” “The Temptation of Father Lorenzo: Ten Stories of 1970s Tuscany,” and “The Fearless Flag Thrower of Lucca: Nine Stories of 1990s Tuscany.” 

Paul Salsini has lived at Milwaukee Catholic Home with his wife Barbara since 2011.  He is a veteran Milwaukee journalist, having vast experience as a reporter, state editor, and staff development director at the Milwaukee Journal. Paul currently teaches in the Diedrich College of Communications at Marquette University.  

Purchase your copy of “The Ghosts of Garfagnana: Seven Strange Stories from Haunted Tuscany” here!  

The television network Bravo is known for its entertaining array of programming. While everyone might not gravitate towards offerings such as “The Real Housewives”, “Southern Charm”, or “Below Deck” (or, for that matter, be able to summarize what these shows are about), “Top Chef” is a Bravo show that everyone can get behind.  

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of viewing an episode, each season centers around 15 chefs migrating to a city in the United States that is known for its unique culinary scene. Then, week by week, the chefs are presented with unique challenges that display their skills in the kitchen, as they compete for the illusive title of “Top Chef.”  

Now, imagine if the magic of this engaging Bravo reality show were brought to Milwaukee’s Prospect Avenue? Well, imagine no more, because this September, Milwaukee Catholic Home is hosting its own spin on this television favorite. Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 26th at 4:30 pm for MCH Top Chef.

On that afternoon, the expert chefs of MCH are ready to bring you their very best, just as they would if they were in front of the Bravo TV cameras! We invite you to come and enjoy a wonderful array of appetizers, wine, and beer, prepared fresh for you by your MCH chefs. You’ll even get the chance to take on the roll of judge as you vote for your favorite and see who will be awarded the honor of MCH Top Chef. 

One thing that all competitors are encouraged to do during MCH Top Chef is to use ingredients from Clare Gardens. Since its inception in the spring of 2015, Clare Gardens has succeeded in bringing fresh, local produce to our residents and partners and creating a place of experiential engagement both for residents and the broader community. Additionally, this program enables our chefs (aka, the cutthroat competitors in MCH Top Chef) to explore creative, healthy, and diverse menus daily.  

We and all our Top Chef participants look forward to seeing you on September 26th! Be sure to bring your appetite.  


The Longest Day is the day with the most light – the summer solstice. On June 21, thousands of participants from across the world come together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s disease. Together, we will use our creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Currently, more than 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and this number is set to skyrocket to 75 million by the year 2030. To do our part, Milwaukee Catholic Home will be hosting a community cookout and happy hour. Please join us to support and raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association!

With a nod to the first day of summer, we’re having a cookout on The Residence patio from 11:00am – 1:00pm. Join us for fresh off the grill burgers and brats and all the accompaniments, and stay for live music and a 50/50 raffle! The suggested donation is $10 with all proceeds benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association.

Beginning at 1:30pm, The Health and Rehabilitation Center will have brain stations set up in the courtyard, showcasing the many ways MCH supports brain health. Included will be stations dedicated to physical fitness, cognitive health, and the Memories in the Making art program. Stop by each of the stations to discover how MCH combats memory loss, and stay for a special happy hour featuring purple cocktails and brain-healthy appetizers!

Come to one or both events and be sure to wear purple to show your support! Please RSVP to Amy O’Connor at 414-220-3214 for the cookout, or Madeline Dahl at 414-220-4610 x.3322 for the brain stations and happy hour. We look forward to fighting the darkness of Alzheimer’s together!

-from Merridith Frediani

“I’d rather knit than eat,” said Trudy Klapperich, who at 105 years is the oldest resident at the Milwaukee Catholic Home. She was ten years old when her mother taught her to knit and though there were stops and starts over the years, it remains her favorite way to pass the time. When life became busy she would stop, and “start in again when there is pressure. It’s so relaxing,” she said. Knitting is hard on her hands but that hasn’t stopped her; she took up crochet to replace it. “I would have gone mad if I came here and just sat,” she said. She thanks her father for instilling a strong work ethic in her. She learned to crochet through trial and error and with patterns her daughter, also a knitter, sent her.

She has much to show for her efforts. In the three weeks she has been in the health center, she has amassed a pile of hats that she gives to her nephew, Fr. Francis Dumbrowski who in turn gives them to the needy. In addition to hats, she makes baby slippers and sweaters, although sweaters “get a little boring,” she said. She likes to create something and see it finished. “Hats are perfect for me.”

When asked the secret of her long and good life, she said she dedicated herself to Christ when she was fifty-nine years old. She was attending a prayer meeting with women in her neighborhood. “I was looking for something. You get a hunger if God touches you. I noticed God giving me gifts, little touches. I continued to search for more and a friend drew me in,” she said.

Trudy has lived in Milwaukee for all but fourteen years when she lived in the Phoenix area. One of her daughters still lives there but her other two children remain in Milwaukee. She is close to her son because of many common interests. He bought her a comfortable recliner chair where she sits as she creates her crochet hats.

She grew up with one brother and two sisters on the west side of Milwaukee. Her father was an alcoholic which made home life a challenge and her mother died at fifty-two after a twenty year battle with cancer. She learned to think positively but it was hard. “ I always had God in the back of my mind. He knew I was trying,” she said.

She had a “terrific” job working a teletype machine taking orders for gears for ships and preparing them for the shop workers. She worked for almost five years and remembers being treated very well.

“The doctor was the last place I’d go,” she said of times when she was sick. She used home remedies for many illnesses and recommends baking soda and lemon juice for heartburn. When asked what has surprised her most during her life span, Trudy turned to politics and a reminder that it is important for all of us to stay informed.

She has a deep appreciation for nature and sees God’s touch in it. A picture of an ant carrying a leaf with another ant on top reminds her of God’s awesomeness. Trudy’s faith is the anchor of her life. “I don’t hunger for things in the world anymore,” she said. She is grateful for the wisdom she has received from the Lord. “God doesn’t give out wisdom unless he thinks it’s productive,” she said. “He does give wisdom when you ask. He has done it for me many times.” She credits his intervention when, one day, she wanted to say something sharp but he intervened to soften it. “Sometimes we are not aware of what God puts in our mouth.” She reminds us that “God demands a lot for all the good he gives.”

Despite some fuzzy details, which she jokes about, Trudy is a vibrant, faithful woman. She likes being at the Milwaukee Catholic Home especially when they bring her a banana she wasn’t expecting. She enjoys staying connected with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in addition to her own children.

“It was all good,” she said. “My whole adult life was good.”