Day of Grandparents and Elderly at Holy Family Home
July 24, 2022
To unite with the whole Church in marking the 2nd World Day of Grandparents and Elders, we organized a discussion. The Residents love to reminisce about their parents and grandparents. We thought they might come up with ideas from their memories to help us today to bring much needed love and caring to the younger generations.
A summons to all Residents and Little Sisters to join in this discussion met with a great response! Apartment, Skilled Care, and Personal Care Residents joined the Little Sisters in small groups for sharing memories. After about 40 minutes of listening to touching tales, comical anecdotes, and some sad stories, we asked: what can we learn from our families and forerunners that will inspire us today with ways to take an active part in the revolution of tenderness urged by Pope Francis? A few common points emerged:
- Memories of lessons in obedience and truth-telling, and other virtues stand out as precious presents from grandparents and parents. The “Faith of our Fathers” was perhaps their greatest legacy to us. They made our Father in Heaven and the loving Sacred Heart his Son and our Blessed Mother, and Guardian Angels seem very near to us. Prayers learnt on their laps stayed with us over the years. And so, we also inherit the obligation to hand on the treasures of our Faith to those coming after us.
- Prejudice was as prevalent back in their day as it is today. Intolerance of other religions marked that time, as racism does today. Many of our parents and grandparents suffered because they married a Protestant. Even the Church seemed to discriminate against those who entered into “mixed marriage.” No Nuptial Mass, Wedding in the Sacristy, no being buried together in a family tomb—no burial in Catholic cemetery for the Protestant spouse, etc. Hard feelings in families persisted in many cases. In were others, that we can admire. Many Protestant Moms or Protestant Pops raised big families to be good Catholics. We can all imitate their big hearts!
- Our grandparents and parents were generally more reserved in showing their affection. They expressed their caring in their devotedness, day in and day out. They taught us a work ethic. We might show the younger generation the practical way of willingness-to-work as a tangible sign of love and caring.
- Some Residents say that they are bonded better now with their granchildren and great-grandchildren than they were with their own kids. While raising a family, they were “busy about many things.” Now they have time for “the one thing necessary – listening!” With age, they have grown in their appreciation of youth and interest in their activities. That’s why God made elders – to be able to “be with” youngsters!
- Many of our forerunners struggled to make ends meet but they managed to leave their children in financial security. We might try to pass on to youngsters the importance of prudent management.
- Formal education was not so available to our grandparents and parents, so they insisted that their children be given opportunities to pursue further studies and/or technical training. We might bring gratitude for learning to reluctant students of today.
- Mistakes in parenting are present in all generations. Memories of our own past hurts can make us more sensitive in our dealings with those younger than us.
Little Sisters and Residents alike left the discussion filled with gratitude for the past and all kinds of good resolutions for passing on the lessons we learned from our grandparents and parents to those coming after us.
One Little Sister remarked: “This sharing turned out to be a spiritual treat for us all!”