DARBY, Pa. — Mae Reeves makes a wonderful first impression.
Her smile draws attention to an attractive face that's adorned with the slightest hint of blush. Her easy laughter seems to come from deep within a joyful soul. She's stylish and charming, and, although her demeanor doesn't reflect it, she is, at the age of 98, a celebrity.
Mary Queen and Mother Center welcomes all creatures great and small with an open-door policy for animals coming to visit residents. The pets bring a sense of comfort, joy and unconditional love to residents.
Some of the visitors are the residents' own pets who are eagerly awaiting them to return home after rehab. The visits seem to encourage rehab residents to work harder so that they soon can be home with them.
For long-term-care residents, the visits bring smiles and even laughter as they interact with them.
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) provides men and women over age 50 the opportunity to serve people in need, work for a more just society and grow deeper in their faith.
One example is Anne Osdieck of St. Francis Xavier (College Church) Parish in Midtown, who retired after 34 years of classroom teaching and wanted to devote more time to working with poor people. But she didn't want to embark on her journey of service alone.
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps has provided her an opportunity for prayer and a community to support her in that work.
Our faith teaches that respect for life includes those who are near the end of their life due to illness, age or infirmity. Caregivers are crucial to ensuring that every person experiences the full measure of love and respect that is their due.
Caregiving can be stressful and exhausting for the caregiver and full of conflicting emotions for all parties involved. When caring for aging parents, the role reversal that takes place can be difficult to accept, potentially causing grief, anger and fear in both the children and parents.
A visit to a Third World country can boost someone's faith because "you see people with hardly any material goods, but they are happy, loving, caring people," stated Bob Baglan, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Clayton.
"You are reminded of the saying, 'The most important things in life are not things,'" noted Baglan who was among 11 St. Louis residents who recently returned from Guatemala, where they built two homes for poor families.
Looking for a volunteer opportunity, Sister Joan Moorhem, a School Sister of Notre Dame, found a perfect fit with Senior Connections.
The Singer Institute's Senior Connections program pairs younger senior volunteers with nursing home residents to establish a bond and build a relationship, a move that benefits the lives of both people.
Sister Joan noted that the woman she visits at St. Louis Altenheim is a widow who did not have children, and her only sibling had one child. "She's pretty much alone. I hope I'm making a dent in the isolation," the volunteer said.