Intergenerational Joy with Nature
Pope Francis, in promoting care of our common home, keeps reminding us that the most important part of creation is the people. This year‘s celebration of the Season of Creation at Holy Family Home gave us new insights into how people, young and old, relate with creation. Young missionaries from “Christ in the City” have been coming weekly to interact with our Residents. During the month of September, we asked these young adults to join us Little Sisters in discovering how Mother Nature has touched the lives of our seniors. A little questionnaire guided the interview:
- What is one of your favorite parts of Nature?
- Have you any stories or interesting facts associated with your choice?
We kept secret the responses to these questions so that for the Closing of the “Season of Creation,” we could gather for a guessing game. For example: “Who said listening to the ocean was her favorite part of Nature?” CNA Dorothy immediately shouted: “That has to be Alice!!” Alice could explain that, being blind, she enjoyed the ocean by the sound of the surf.
The one-on-one interviews in preparation for this event were a delight for the young adults and the entire community of Little Sisters! So many memories evoked! So many interesting stories recounted! Almost all of the Healthcare and Apartment Residents arrived to participate at the actual celebration on the feast of St. Francis, as well as all the Little Sisters. We began by singing wholeheartedly, “For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies . . .” Then the Little Sisters took turns recounting the responses to the questionnaires, as a picture to illustrate the aspect of Nature being presented appeared on the big screen TV.
“Who said this?” was the question asked after each new interview result was shared. Names of possible persons were put forward by all. Some were easy associations. Two Residents chose the sparkling beauty of snow. The favorite sledding route of one, down Roxborough avenue into Pretzel Park, led those who knew where she grew up to guess Fran M. Others were real surprises. One Resident chose coconuts. Everyone scanned the audience for someone with ties to a tropical climate, but it was Paul B. from Philly, celebrating the key ingredient in coconut custard pie. Bill J. chose a lunar eclipse because of all the possibilities you have for fun when those you are with don’t know what is happening!
Even more than guessing who chose a particular part of creation, the best part was learning the reason why he or she loved this particular part of creation. One of our newest Residents, Fran G, chose daisies as her favorite part of creation, and told the interviewing Sister that it had also been her husband’s favorite flower. While she couldn’t say why it was her favorite flower before her husband’s death, she knows why it remains her favorite flower. Through tears, she explained that her husband died very young, when their four children were between the ages of 8 and 16. Within a few days of his death during a cold January, a friend who would have had no way of knowing of her and her deceased husband’s love of daisies, sent a bouquet of …. DAISIES! Fran indicated that she took it as a sign from above that all was well. October 4th is also Fran’s birthday. Christ-in-the-City-Missionary Julie, having heard that daisies were Fran’s favorite, arrived with a bouquet of them for her special day! Fran had not yet told her the story of why, but when she did, Julie was taken up with the same joyful amazement of us all.
We loved learning more about each other and the wonders of creation that mean so much to us. We left this time of sharing with an increased appreciation, especially for the most wonderful part of God’s creation: our brothers and sisters! And we felt happy to be part of the family at Holy Family Home!