As Time Goes By
Reflection by Resident, Fran Murphy
As time goes by… at this moment in time, we know there are so many stories out there waiting to be told. ISN’T GOD GOOD? Here’s mine:
On May 16, 2015, I came to live at Holy Family Home. I knew many people when I arrived because my Mother spent the last ten years of her life with the Little Sisters of the Poor: 1963-1973. Afterwards, I relished being a volunteer: 2001-2008.
When I entered as a Resident, an amazing welcome came from Sr. Elizabeth Teresa. You see, we were in the same class at St. John Baptist grade and high school in Manayunk, Philadelphia. It was quite a day for me!
A novena to St Joseph directly led to our coming to Sacred Heart Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor at 5300 Chester Avenue on November 11, 1963. After 7 happy years, in 1970, plans were made to build a new Home to replace Sacred Heart Home. It was necessary to transfer Mom, with a large group of Residents, to the care of the Little Sisters at St. Michael’s Home in Germantown, during the construction. Sister Martin and all the Little Sisters and Staff at St. Michael’s made life as comfortable for Mom as possible. She had Parkinson’s Disease and L-Dopa had just been approved by the FDA. I got permission to take Mom to Germantown Hospital’s Neurology Department so she could start treatment on this newly available anti-Parkinsonism drug.
It had been expected that she would return to the newly built Holy Family Home when it was completed, but Mom’s condition was in flux for more than two years, so she couldn’t be moved. Finally, with her health declining steadily during this time, her demise seemed imminent. The sisters stayed and prayed with her all night. The next morning Mary Bridget Murphy went home to God at 5:56 a.m. That was April 14, 1973, the day she was scheduled to be transferred for the grand opening of the brand-new Holy Family Home.
Also present was Cathy Moffit, a beautiful young Irish “candy-striper” who has served the Sisters over all these years and continues till this day. That was her first real experience with death. Cathy still gives her heart and soul to continue the work of St. Jeanne Jugan, the first Little Sister of the Poor. Surrounded by people like Cathy, the Little Sisters will continue to help people in great need no matter what the circumstances. St. Jeanne Jugan began this movement to help the poor. Little Sisters and their co-workers are now all over the globe doing God’s work, sharing God’s merciful love.
Cathy Moffit’s dear friend, Kathy Quinn Kagel, was also a volunteer. Kathy Kagel went on to become a nurse and has continued to serve with the Little Sisters for the past 50 years. Kathy Kagel’s expertise as an RN has been a God-send to the Home. She readily shares her insights and makes life a lot easier for the Residents in their time of great need. OH! by the way– Kathy makes me laugh!!!!!
I believe Mom may have been the last Resident at St. Michael’s. So, this is the 50th anniversary of Mom’s death, and I am now living in that “new Home” which is about to be replaced by another “New Home!” I am so grateful to St. Joseph and St. Jeanne Jugan for helping us. I felt it was a miracle, the Little Sisters, over all these years, have made our lives so blessed! What a beautiful experience!
Now 50 years later, the Little Sisters of the Poor are building a brand-new home and will continue to serve the needs of the community for many years to come as time goes by. Mary Bridget Murphy and her daughter, Frances Murphy, want to acknowledge: God is good, all the time, as time goes by!
Extended Family Present 50 Years ago and Still Animating HFH