Celebrating Man’s Best Friend on National Dog Day

Jackie Galvin, director of development and communications   


Thanks to the great coordination skills of Activities Director Lisa Blaker and a generous donation provided by Dr. Robert J. Noto, V.M.D, owner of Memorial Veterinary Hospital, our home hosted a top-notch dog show for our Residents enjoyment on August 25 in honor of National Dog Day.

Now in its fifth year, the show included 18 furry little friends who strutted their stuff as they pranced down the sidewalk on our back patio to our pavilion in front of a crowd of nearly 90 Residents, family members, friends, Little Sisters and staff members.

The show began with each dog being introduced by Lisa. As he or she walked the runway to music provided by DJ Bill Roditski, Lisa also provided a brief biography about each of the participants. After all of the dogs had been presented, Father E. Francis Kelly, our chaplain, blessed all of the animals.

Following the blessing, doggie visits with the Residents, and an ice cream social, Palmer, whose name was drawn in our doggie raffle, won a beautiful prize basket of products Dr. Noto donated. Needless to say, Palmer’s owners, Monsignor Thomas Banick, Sister Dolores Banick, and Joseph Banick, were thrilled! And in keeping with his generous spirit, Dr. Noto also provided each dog with a box filled with toys and treats and a St. Francis of Assisi medal.

As you can see, with the help of many talented people, the day was a complete success.

We sure hope you enjoy the photos you see from the event as well as the photos which were published in The (Scranton) Times-Tribune on August 26. You can also check out the television news story about the show which aired on WNEP-TV 16 by clicking here.

Until Next Time,






Night at the Ballpark is a Win for the Little Sisters


by Jackie Galvin, director of development and communications

As I was standing on the third base baseline of PNC Field, I couldn’t help but smile as I heard the crowd’s roaring response to our very own Sister Laurelliya’s fantastic throw of the ceremonial first pitch of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game on Tuesday, August 18. Her pitch, which she delivered right from the pitcher’s mound, sailed more than 60 feet straight into the catcher’s mitt!

As I perused social media the next day, I was thrilled to see the photo you see here captured by Scranton Times-Tribune photographer Butch Comegys posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page. But what made me even happier were the positive comments people posted beneath it such as “Way to go Sister!,” and “That’s great! So neat that the RailRiders let her do that. Made me smile.” It just goes to show you evangelization and spreading God’s love can be done in many different ways and in many different places – even from a pitcher’s mound! 

Following Sister’s fabulous pitch and Mother Maureen’s great on-field interview, Residents, Association Jeanne Jugan members, family, friends, and Little Sisters gathered together in sections 28 and 29 of the stadium for an evening of fun, food, and friendship. As we munched on hot dogs, popcorn, potato chips, cotton candy, and soft drinks, we enjoyed catching up with old friends we had not seen for a while and watching our home team battle their division rivals, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  

Despite our RailRiders ninth inning rally, they lost 3-1. But with all of the fun we had and the laughs we shared, the evening was certainly a win for us!


Until next time,







Day on Our Hilltop Provides Perfect Place for Annual Carnival

by Jackie Galvin, director of development and communications

What do you get when you combine gorgeous weather, festival food, sweet treats, and a view of the mountains from a high hilltop in your own backyard? The answer: the Little Sisters of the Poor’s annual Residents’ Day Carnival!
Comprised of Residents and employees along with their families as well as volunteers, friends and Little Sisters, a group of more than 150 people gathered on the hilltop behind our home, where the Maloney Home once stood, for what surely was the best carnival we have ever had.
Beginning in the early afternoon, as carnival-goers arrived they were treated to the same types of foods you would find at any summer festival. Whether you were in the mood for something from the Orient such as egg rolls or you were looking for something on the sweeter side like funnel cakes, our kitchen cooked up all of this and more for everyone to enjoy. As we snacked on our egg rolls and funnel cakes, we were also treated to hot dogs, cheddar crackers, soft pretzels, and much more.

All of the food really was great and as if those treats weren’t enough to satisfy our taste buds, Jean Evans, daughter of one of our Residents, Barbara Pascale, arranged to have the Chilly Willy ice cream truck arrive at the picnic at the perfect time to serve dessert. It certainly was sweet of Jean to send these sweets to us! After we finished our smorgasbord of snacks, it was time to start the activities. For some people that meant visiting a petting zoo made up of the cutest little farm animals, for others it meant taking a walk on the wild side and slipping down a 15-foot waterslide or racing through a water tunnel. And, for those people who are more like me, it meant having a good time just by watching other people enjoy themselves at these activities as they participated in a water balloon toss, a pie eating contest, and Father Ruth’s magic show all set to the tunes of DJ Dragon.
As the day came to a close, I don’t think many people really wanted to leave the carnival. But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Thankfully, the fun sure lives on in our Residents’ minds and hearts as they warmly think about this special day on our hilltop. To see all of the fun we had, check out the photo slide show of this event.
Until next time,

Golf Tournament Celebrates Family Spirit in a Special Way


by Jackie Galvin, director of development and communications

Each year at our golf tournament, the Little Sisters select an individual to honor for their commitment to helping the elderly poor. Over the years, they have saluted numerous worthy individuals, but this year there was something extra special about the honorees. For the first time in Holy Family golf tournament history, we honored a couple who are both former employees and one of which is still a very active volunteer to this day.

This year’s tournament, which took place Saturday, June 13, at the Scranton Municipal Golf Course, was played in honor of Mrs. Joan Blaker and in loving memory of Mr. Fenton Blaker, parents of Mr. Robert Blaker, our maintenance director and co-tournament chairperson. Joan and Fenton were selected to receive this honor because of their love and devotion to the elderly poor at Holy Family Residence during their employment and retirement.

As an employee, Joan, who served as the front desk receptionist, always provided a friendly smile and warm welcome to visitors as they stopped by to visit their loved ones and friends. Since her retirement, Joan continues to share her talents with the Little Sisters in many different ways. Each year she works diligently to assemble and decorate numerous Christmas trees throughout our home which enhances the family spirit the Little Sisters strive to create for the Residents. Since the golf tournament’s inception, Joan has also created and donated the contents for many of the beautiful baskets people win each and every year at the event. And I can say with confidence, the winners are always pleased with their gifts and this year was no exception!

Fenton, who served our home as the maintenance director for many years, always took great pride in his work. Whether he was doing something as simple as replacing a lightbulb or something much more complex such as remodeling a room from start to finish, Fenton did it with a heart full of love knowing his good works would be beneficial to the Residents. After his retirement, Fenton continued to volunteer his talents to Holy Family Residence with Joan. Fenton also taught his son, Bobby, all of the tricks of their trade. And because of that, Fenton lives on in Bobby who continues to do the same high quality repairs and remodeling like his dad.


Following an introduction by Mother Maureen, l.s.p., a prayer by our chaplain, Father E. Francis Kelly, and music by the Kearns Brothers Pipe and Drum band, the golfers took off to the course at 1 p.m. to begin an afternoon of vigorous play on an absolutely beautiful day.

After four hours of golf, the foursomes returned to the clubhouse to enjoy a delicious buffet dinner and discover which baskets and gift certificates they won. Following dinner, Mother Maureen presented Joan with a beautiful plaque affixed with a medallion of St. Jeanne Jugan and a bouquet of flowers as a token of Holy Family Residence’s appreciation.


As you can see, we really did have what I deem as our best golf tournament yet. And in order for an event of this magnitude to be planned and run smoothly, it takes hard work and great commitment from many people. The Little Sisters extend their heartfelt gratitude to our tournament co-chairmen Patrick J. Sheridan, Gene Cosgrove, Chris James, and Bob Blaker as well as our dedicated committee members and volunteers: Aileen Alunni, Debbi Bean, Lisa Blaker, Charlie Butler, Karen Caruso, Atty. Jim Conaboy, Atty. Kevin Conaboy, Mike Crossin, Mary Densevich, Theresa Durkin, Mary Lou Fiala, Jim Galvin, Tracy Genell, Bill Hughes, Kathy Hughes, MaryCarol and Pete Kanton, Deacon Ed Kelly, Ann Kwak, Terri Millard, Bill McDonough, Bev Polcha, Barb Politowski, Pat Salmon, Kim Simchak, Janet Skibinski, Cathy Skrutski, Donna Solon, Tim Speicher, and Dave Tressler.

We would also like to thank our media sponsors WNEP TV-16 and Lamar Advertising for the generous amount of publicity they provided about the tournament as well as WNEP TV-16 sports director and anchor Jim Coles, meteorologist and reporter Kurt Aaron, and investigative reporter Dave Bohman for taking the time out of their busy schedules to play in the tournament.

To download and view our program from the event, please click here. This program lists the sponsors, benefactors, and prize donors whose generosity helped make this event a success.





“St. Joseph, In This Hour, Show Your Power”


While St. Patrick might be the most celebrated saint in Scranton, St. Joseph got his day in the spotlight on March 19 as we celebrated his feast day which is close to the Little Sisters hearts.

St. Joseph, who is known as the husband of the Blessed Mother, foster father of Jesus, and patron saint of the universal Church, is also the protector of the Little Sisters of the Poor. As their protector, I often hear the Sisters appeal to his intercessory prayers with the words: “St. Joseph, In This Hour, Show Your Power” as they go about their day caring for the elderly poor and completing tasks here in our home.

On Thursday, March 19, the Little Sisters celebrated their special friendship with a Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. James C. Timlin, D.D., bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Scranton, and several diocesan priests. Following the Mass, the priests served lunch and visited the Residents which is something they always enjoy.

While I could describe the event in detail, why don’t you just see for yourself?
Click here to watch WBRE-TV’s story about our St. Joseph’s Day celebration.

Until next time,





Smiling Irish Eyes


After successfully hosting our inaugural community wide St. Patrick’s Day celebration last year, I didn’t think it would be possible for it to get better, but I was wrong – it did. And that was made possible by the hard work and dedication of many, many people. But before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about the event and provide you with some news clips so you can see the fun for yourself.

As the day got underway, we began our event on March 8 with a beautiful Mass concelebrated by our chaplain, Father E. Francis Kelly, along with Monsignor George Demuth, Monsignor John Louis, Father Joseph Weber, and Father Eugene Carr. Following Communion, Mr. Brendan Kearns, a friend of the Little Sisters and founder of the Kearns Drum and Pipe Band, provided Father Kelly with a relic of St. Patrick which Father used to provide a blessing upon the standing room only crowd decked out in a sea of Kelly green. After the Mass ended, the Kearns Drum and Pipe Band played classic Irish songs as the priests recessed from the chapel.

After Mass, it was time to eat and celebrate Scranton’s favorite holiday. As diners feasted on our kitchen’s traditional ham and cabbage dinner, they were treated to live entertainment including the Kearns Drum and Pipe Band, E.J. the D.J., and Irish step dancing by the Crossmolina School of Dance. Attendees also sold out our raffle ticket stand where they purchased chances to win over 50 theme baskets and gift certificates, and they also sold out our bake sale of the Little Sisters famous scones and baked goods courtesy of Premo’s Bakery, Wilkes-Barre, and our Association Jeanne Jugan members.

While we are so grateful for the hundreds of guests who visited our home that day, we are forever indebted to the countless sponsors and prize donors whose generosity provided the foundation for the event. Their names are listed in our official event program which you can access by clicking here. We are also so grateful to the volunteers, committee members, kitchen staff, and the UNICO Ladies Auxiliary who worked at the event and to the many media outlets who promoted it most especially Times-Shamrock, Lamar Advertising, and WNEP-TV 16. As you will see in the media clips, which you can access by clicking here and here, it really was a great day for the Irish and the Irish at heart! As they say at the University of Notre Dame . . . GO IRISH!

Until next time,






Mardi Gras Makes Lasting Memories

If you took a group of people on a tour of our nursing units on any given day, they would most likely describe them as bright, clean, and pleasant. If you took that very same group of people on a tour of our nursing units on February 17, they would definitely have a VERY different description of them. In fact, they may not have even thought they were at Holy Family Residence! Why would they think this you ask? The answer is simple. It was Mardi Gras Day at our home, and we were going to take our Residents on a virtual trip!

Beginning at noon on the second floor’s St. John of God unit, our Residents were amazed to return from Mass to see that their dining room and sitting area had been converted into Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The tables were adorned in purple, green, and gold balloon centerpieces, plates, cups, napkins, and tablecloths, and the walls were adorned with silhouettes of jazz musicians. Luckily for our Residents, they didn’t have to just imagine what the smooth tunes might sound like flowing from those musicians’ instruments because our activities department brought in live saxophone and clarinet players for all of us to enjoy!

As we listened to the live music, we feasted on numerous types of New Orleans style foods including gumbo, jambalaya, and king cake. Following lunch, a group of employees performed a hula dance for the Residents which was not only entertaining but also served as a sneak preview of the next stop on our imaginary trip.

As evening arrived, we also arrived at our next destination – the South Pacific! Complete with tropical flowers, pineapples, and palm tree decorations, it was certainly hard to imagine what was once the St. Anne Unit was now something that looked like the set for a Rogers and Hammerstein musical.

While the dinner of South Pacific native foods and pineapple upside down cake for dessert certainly was a great treat, our Residents also enjoyed another great and unexpected treat – ukulele music!

Following an evening of enjoyable entertainment, it was time for us to return to our destinations, and return our nursing units back to their normally pleasant state. While the party may be over, the memories from it will certainly last.


Until Next Time,




Activities Department Brings New Life to Gently Used Bingo Machine

While our Residents certainly are blessed to have many activities to participate in throughout the week, no other event is more popular at our home than bingo. And with the recent addition of a gently used stand-alone bingo machine, this activity has become more popular than ever before.

To celebrate its arrival, our activities department planned a grand bingo bonanza in our auditorium where Residents and employees played several different variations on traditional bingo games. Many of the players were thrilled to win various prizes including tickets which can be exchanged for merchandise in our prize boutique.

The machine, which includes an electric blower to mix the bingo balls well, certainly was a big hit with our Residents. Many of them remarked at how wonderful it was to see something so similar to the machines they used to see in bingo halls where they spent many evenings hoping to win big.

As you can see in the picture, everyone (including the Little Sisters) participated in this fun-filled afternoon!

Until next time,


Patriots Win Super Bowl. Residents Have Super Time.

What do a kick line, a “Poet”, and chicken bites have in common? Give up? The answer is a pre-Super Bowl party at Holy Family Residence. Now, I know that sounds like an odd mix of activity, occupation, and objects, but as you read on you will see why it was the perfect formula for a Friday afternoon of good food and good times.

Kicking off this afternoon of football-themed fun, our kitchen staff treated our Residents and employees to a delicious buffet lunch of traditional Super Bowl party fare (including chicken bites!) as well as well-balanced and nutritious options. After dining at tables decorated in New England Patriot and Seattle Seahawk team colors, well-known Northeastern Pennsylvania entertainer Frankie Gervasi of the singing group “The Poets,” provided us with a wonderfully entertaining afternoon of singing and dancing. Whether he was leading the Macarena line dance or performing the top hits of the ’50s and the ’60s, Frankie sure got the party started! He even got many of our Residents and employees to participate in a Rockettes style kick line as he belted out Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”


As you can imagine, we were sorry to see the afternoon of fun come to an end, but we know we can count on Frankie to visit us again and bring back those big smiles to our Residents’ faces.

Until Next Time,



P.S. Despite the many prayers of Washington native, Sister Rachael, the Seahawks lost to the Patriots 28-24. If you ask me, I think God wanted the Patriots to win since they donated tickets to our home to use in our “Weekend in New England” raffle last fall. (Just kidding! We know the good Lord sees us all as winners!)


Jesus’ Love and A Charlie Brown Christmas

One of my favorite things about Christmas is watching the annual broadcast of Charles Schulz’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t matter that I’m an adult. I watch this holiday classic every year and with good reason – it’s one of the few shows that effectively blends the sacred and the secular aspects of Christmas. Although there are so many parts about the program that I love, my favorite part is when all of the kids are telling Charlie Brown how silly it was that he chose such a skimpy tree. It wasn’t full. It wasn’t lush. In fact, it was so weak it couldn’t even hold a single ornament without bending in half, yet Charlie Brown saw something more in it that the other children could not – life. He knew with the right nourishment and care it could be something great and by the end of the program it was!

Reflecting on this scene, I couldn’t help but notice a parallel between our Lord’s love and Charlie’s little tree. You see, our Lord entered the world in the most innocent and gentlest way as a fragile baby, yet His love for us is strong and sturdy like a mighty oak. Regardless of how many times we feel like we’re being pulled over by the heavy “ornaments” of life, we, like Charlie Brown’s tree, can find nourishment in the Eucharist and care in the hearts of other people –  both helping us to bounce back just like Charlie’s Christmas tree.

Do you have any “needy trees” in our life? Do you know somebody who could use nourishment and care? If you do, follow the pull the Lord is placing in your heart to help your “little tree” to become something great!


Until next time,



P.S. We sure hope you enjoy these photos from our Christmas festivities here at Holy Family Residence. Our Residents enjoyed numerous parties, baking cookies, singing carols, and receiving gifts from family and friends. While all of these activities are certainly something they greatly enjoy and made possible because of your support, the Mass on Christmas Eve is always the pinnacle of our celebration – a night filled with the hope and peace of the season. Enjoy!



Children Discover the Origin of Santa Claus at Annual St. Nicholas Day Party


There is a cute Christmas song that begins with the verse “Jolly old Saint Nicholas … Lean your ear this way! Don’t you tell a single soul … what I’m going to say. Christmas Eve is coming soon; Now, you dear old man … Whisper what you’ll bring to me; Tell me if you can.”

I like this song for two reasons: one, it’s catchy. And two, it refers to Santa Claus with his original name – St. Nicholas – which isn’t something we see too much of anymore in today’s more secularized society. But the reality is, Santa Claus is indeed rooted in Christian tradition and on December 7, a group of approximately 50 lucky children discovered what that tradition is all about.

Last Sunday, the Little Sisters hosted their annual St. Nicholas Day Party for the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of our Residents, employees, and friends. At the party, the children were entertained with a video all about the story of St. Nicholas and how this man, who was born into a wealthy family, rose to become a bishop and later a saint. Following the story, the children were treated to a visit from St. Nicholas himself (well almost … our dear chaplain, Father E. Francis Kelly, is such a good sport and always portrays the saint for this special event!) After the children shared their Christmas wishes with the “jolly old saint,” they enjoyed a light luncheon of hot dogs, cookies, and punch. Following the lunch, the children were delighted to discover St. Nicholas left each of them a bag of gold coins (well in our case, gold chocolate coins) just as he did for the poor many years ago.

It really was a very nice party for children of all ages that not only provided them with a festive and fun afternoon but more importantly a lesson in sharing and caring in the Christian tradition.

Until next time,



Arts Provide Enlightenment, Inspiration, and Entertainment



The arts. For some, they provide enlightenment. For others, it’s inspiration. And for some people, the arts simply provide entertainment. At Holy Family Residence, we were lucky enough to experience all of those emotions recently as we were treated to a play about St. Jeanne Jugan and at our Residents’ annual art show.

In celebration of St. Jeanne Jugan’s birthday on October 25, several of our Residents, Association Jeanne Jugan (AJJ) members, volunteers, and staff performed a short play about the life of St. Jeanne Jugan. And because it was so well received, the group did an encore performance for Mother Provincial Margaret Regina when she visited our home this month.

In the play, which was adapted from “In the Evening of Life” by AJJ member Anne Armezzani, the audience learned about Jeanne’s humble beginnings in a small town in revolutionary France and how she went on to found the Little Sisters of the Poor. The audience really enjoyed the show and of course our Residents’ really enjoyed performing it for them.

Later in the month, our Residents’ once again displayed their creativity at the second annual Holy Family Residence art show. Organized by Resident Judy Contessa, nearly 60 artists participated in the event. This select group of artists comprised of Residents, staff members, family, and friends enjoyed displaying their works for the approximately 50 individuals who attended the show. As our special patrons browsed the various works, they were treated to light piano music performed by students from Marywood University and the University of Scranton and a refreshment reception following the show.

As you can see in the photos, we have some very talented people at our home who are so happy to share their talents!

Until next time,



Annual Roast Beef Dinner Warms the Heart on Brisk Autumn Day


Judging by the cool temperatures predicted for Scranton on October 19, I was hoping the weather wouldn’t keep people from attending our roast beef dinner. I honestly don’t know why I worry about such things. I should have just trusted that the Lord would provide … and as usual he did!

Led by Cathy Gavin, owner of Stirna’s Restaurant who catered the dinner for us for free, a dedicated team of more than 20 volunteers and staff served nearly 800 dinners to the Greater Scranton community at this annual event. The meal, which was served from noon to 4 p.m. in the auditorium of our home, included roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, applesauce, rolls and butter, assorted pies, and beverages. As patrons arrived and left the dinner, many of them also purchased pastries, cookies, and scones at our bake sale sponsored by the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association. Our guests also purchased tickets for a chance to win over 50 prizes and cash! Combining our ticket sales with the proceeds from our dinner sponsorship program, bake sale, and raffles we are very happy to report that we raised over $21,000 which covered a large portion of the costs we incurred when we replaced a portion of our heating and air conditioning system this fall.

As you can imagine, planning and preparing for this dinner is quite an undertaking and we could not do it without the help of so many people. We are so grateful to the many families and individuals who attended our dinner to make it a complete success as well as the many parishes of our diocese, Lamar Advertising, and WNEP-TV for helping us get the word out about this important fundraiser. We are also thankful to all of our dinner sponsors, benefactors, prize and baked good donors for their very generous support as well as to the many area businesses that provided us with donations to use in our gift certificate and basket raffle. Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank our committee members and volunteers who worked very hard to help this event to run so smoothly and successfully. We certainly could not have done this without all of you!

To view the program listing all of our dinner sponsors and supporters, please click here.


Until next time,









Congratulazioni Sister Theresa Michel!


When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we met with our pastor to discuss the readings we wanted at our nuptial Mass. One of the readings we selected was from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The reading, which is a popular selection for weddings, includes sage advice as to what love is and what it is not. In his letter, St. Paul reminded the people of Corinth that “love is patient, love is kind.” While these words were applicable at the time they were written to the people of Corinth, what makes them so poignant to this day is that they serve as a reminder to newlyweds that the love they will share with one another throughout their married life should be a reflection of the very same love God has for them.

For the past 50 years, Sister Theresa Michel, l.s.p., has reflected the love God has for her and the love she has for her spouse, Jesus, in her service to the elderly poor. As a Little Sister, Sister Theresa Michel, who is also a registered nurse, has strived (and succeeded!) to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of God’s eldest children throughout the United States. And on October 15th, we celebrated that service in style!

On the occasion of Sister’s 50th Jubilee of Perpetual Vows, we started our celebration with a beautiful Mass led by our chaplain, Father E. Francis Kelly. During the Mass, the Sisters and some members of our Association Jeanne Jugan united their voices and sang many of Sister’s favorite hymns including “I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love.”

Following Mass, the Residents, Sisters, and employees surprised Sister with a delicious Italian lunch and entertainment by Italian tenor Giovanni Antidormi as a salute to her pride in her Italian ancestry. Sister Theresa Michel really enjoyed her special day, and we really enjoyed sharing it with her.

Salute Sister!





Thanking God for the Work of our Hands on the Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan

While August 30 marked the beginning of Labor Day holiday celebrations throughout the United States, for the Little Sisters of the Poor it marked a different occasion. As American workersfired up their grills for cookouts and paused to give thanks for their jobs, the Little Sisters gave thanks for their “jobs” (vocations) too and for the woman who made it all possible –St. Jeanne Jugan.

Gathering together on the feast day of St. Jeanne Jugan, who is the mother foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Sisters, Residents, members of the Association Jeanne Jugan, and friends were treated to a very momentous Mass in our chapel. While every Mass celebrated in our chapel is special, our feast day Mass was even more special as we had not one, not two, but five priests and one deacon celebrate the Mass. Amongst that quintet of priests were principal celebrant Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison and homilist Father Joseph Connor, historian of the Diocese of Scranton and assistant professor of church history at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. In his inspiring homily, we were grateful to listen to Father Connor’s eloquent and reflective words about Jeanne Jugan’s life and how we can let her charism greatly impact the daily work each of us is called to do. Whether our vocation is to religious life, marriage, or to be a single person in whatever work it set before us, we can be more like Jeanne if we approach our daily tasks with great love just as she did.


Until next time,




Residents Have “Doggone” Fun on National Dog Day

On Tuesday, Aug. 26, more than a dozen canine companions walked the runway displaying their finest fashions on National Dog Day as the Little Sisters hosted their fourth annual “Dog Days of Summer” pet fashion show.

The event, which was organized by Activities Director Lisa Blaker, featured dogs of all shapes and sizes belonging to our employees. As you can tell by the photos below, as well as all of the press coverage which you can access by clicking here, this annual summertime tradition is a favorite of the Residents and staff.







Little Sisters Hit One Out of the Park with Second Annual Baseball Night!

Warm temperatures and cool breezes provided the backdrop for a picturesque summer night as Residents, Sisters, employees, family, and friends gathered at PNC Field for our second annual “Little Sisters of the Poor Night.” We were very grateful to be invited once again by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ Triple A baseball team to be honored as the community organization of the night during the August 19 game. We were also pleased to have Resident Jack Roche honored via the team’s Military Appreciation Program.

Prior to the 7:05 p.m. game time, Sister Kathleen, l.s.p., and Jack participated in on-field interviews in front of home plate. As they stood on the lush green grass, Sister spoke to an entire stadium of people about Holy Family Residence and the Sisters’ mission of serving the elderly poor throughout the world. Following Sister Kathleen’s interview, Jack told the crowd all about his Navy service as a Torpedoman’s mate when he was stationed on the USS Icefish Submarine during its first war patrol in the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea. When Jack finished his first-hand account of the war, the crowd applauded him for his service to our country.

Following Sister and Jack’s captivating interviews, Sister Theresa Louisa, l.s.p., and Jack walked out to the pitcher’s mound and launched two missiles as they threw out the ceremonial first pitches of the game.

Before we knew it, it was game time and we all settled into our seats to watch our RailRiders take on the Syracuse Chiefs. During the game, our group of nearly 150 people adorned in the newest apparel from the Little Sisters’ spirit gear line enjoyed snacking on hot dogs, potato chips, popcorn, ice cream, and soda. As happy as we were to see the RailRiders defeat the Chiefs, we were more delighted to get a surprise visit from the team mascot, Champ! Champ visited each of our Residents and even teased our chaplain, Father E. Francis Kelly, and the Sisters!

It truly was a night filled with good family-fun that will not soon be forgotten. If you missed out on this year’s game, check out the photo slideshow below that captures the highlights of the night. It’s the second best thing to having been there.



Until next time,



Everything Old Is New Again


As an employee and AJJ member working for the Little Sisters, I have learned many things. Because of the Sisters I have strengthened my Catholic faith, learned about St. Jeanne Jugan, and also learned the value of making old items look like new again. That lesson couldn’t have been put into practice better as it was applied to the outdoor religious statues and library furniture we received from the Little Sisters’ Our Lady of Hope Residence in Latham, NY and from one of our future AJJ members.

Although the Sisters were very saddened to see Our Lady of Hope Residence close due to a decrease in religious vocations, they chose to end their service in Latham with a spirit of generosity. Unified by prayer and a positive spirit, the Little Sisters distributed everything they had in the residence to the elderly at other Little Sisters’ homes throughout the country including Scranton. And in that very same shared spirit, we formally dedicated our “new” items from Latham and our future AJJ member on August 14 and 15.

Beginning at 2:30 p.m. on the 14th, Mother Maureen welcomed the Residents to our “new” library. Outfitted with a smooth glass table, beautiful end tables, a couch, lamps, plants, and Queen Anne chairs, our updated library is absolutely beautiful and will serve as a place of peace and quiet as well as the site of many little gatherings. Following our chaplain Father Kelly’s formal blessing of the library, everyone enjoyed a wine and cheese reception as they browsed the packed shelves of reading material. In addition to being an ideal reading room, this “new” space will also serve as the future site of many exciting activities such as a poetry group, book club, iPad lessons, and a Resident Council meeting place.

The next day, our celebration continued as we dedicated the outdoor religious statue set. The set, which depicts Our Lady of Fátima’s apparitions to the three children of Fátima, provides such a peaceful and prayerful space where our Residents can relax and meditate safely outdoors. After our friend, Deacon Ray Pieretti, blessed and dedicated the statues on the feast day of Our Lady’s assumption into heaven, everyone prayed the rosary in unison offering our own personal petitions as well as special prayers for world peace, an end to all forms of hatred and violence, and for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world most especially in Iraq and the Middle East. As we said our final prayer, we released a large rosary constructed from yellow and pink helium balloons into the sky and thanked God for his many blessings including our Sisters and Residents in Latham.

To view pictures from these special dedications, please click on the photo slide show below.


Until Next Time,





Newest Additions to Annual Residents’ Day Carnival Provide Sweet Treats to Beat the Heat

As the temperature soared above 90 degrees, the two newest additions to our annual Residents’ Day Carnival – a water slide and the Chilly Willy ice cream truck – proved to be the most popular places to cool off for kids and adults (well actually only the kids were brave enough to slip down the slide!)

But before I tell you all about all of the fun-filled festivities that took place outside, I must tell you about the delicious lunch our Residents and their families enjoyed inside. Prepared by our kitchen staff, everyone really enjoyed the nice selection of picnic foods available including hot dogs, wimpies, tater tots, chicken and buffalo bites, pasta salad, fresh watermelon and blueberries, and iced tea.

Following this tasty meal, more than 100 people flocked to our outdoor pavilion for their choice of an ice cream or snow cone for dessert via the Chilly Willy ice cream truck courtesy of Jean Evans and Debbie Gschrey, daughters of one of our Residents, Barbara Pascale.

As the group relaxed and enjoyed their sweet treats, our Residents’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren lined up to cool off and slip down an inflatable water slide. The red, white, blue, and yellow ride was the perfect way for the kids to cool off, and it made our Residents so happy to see them enjoy it so much.

In addition to these activities for the young and young at heart, the crowd really enjoyed playing various carnival games and a few brave adults and kids certainly satisfied their sweet tooth by participating in our pie-eating contest. Everyone also enjoyed the ever-popular magic show by Father Ruth, face painting, and the lively music (and even a little magic too) by DJ Johnny Superstar.

As you will see in the photo slide show, the sunshine not only provided warm weather but also an afternoon of friendship and fun that certainly warmed our Residents’ hearts.






Eighth Annual Golf Tournament Breaks 2013 Record!

I never would have imagined when we started planning our eighth annual golf tournament in February that we would break last year’s fundraising record – but we did!

Gathering together at the Scranton Municipal Golf Course to honor the memory of the late Mr. Joseph N. Connor, this year our golfers and sponsors donated more than $28,000 to the Little Sisters of the Poor. That is just incredible! The outpouring of generosity so many of you show to us is overwhelming and your gifts greatly help us in our mission of providing care for the elderly poor in our home.

As the tournament was about to begin, we started our day like we do on any other day – with prayer. After Mother Maureen welcomed everyone to the tournament, Father Charles Connor, who is the son of Mr. Connor, provided all of us with a special blessing in Latin. After we all blessed ourselves, the Kearns Brothers Pipe and Drum band played several songs on the bagpipes declaring the tournament officially underway.

As the golfers took to the course and navigated its challenges, they replenished their energy throughout the day with fresh fruit, cold water, cookies, potato chips, and pretzels from our pre-tournament refreshment reception courtesy of DiMare Fresh, Inc., Nature’s Way Purewater, Wegman’s, and UTZ Quality Foods, Inc. And Lord knows they would need lots of energy to try to sink a hole-in-one on hole number two to win the brand new car that was up for grabs courtesy of Matt Burne Honda. Unfortunately none of our golfers could land the car this year, but hopefully they’ll join us again next year to try again. After all, practice make perfect.

After playing for just over four hours, 90 golfers returned to the clubhouse to enjoy a buffet dinner of caesar salad, ziti, meatballs, sausage and peppers, chicken, and beverages. Following dinner, Mother Maureen presented Father Connor with a beautiful plaque affixed with a medallion of St. Jeanne Jugan in his father’s honor. Father was so pleased to receive this in his dad’s name, and I am sure he will place it somewhere very special.

Our golfers really had a great day on the links, but none of it would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our tournament co-chairmen Patrick J. Sheridan, Gene Cosgrove, Chris James, and Bob Blaker as well as our dedicated committee members and volunteers: Marilouise Agnone Ruane, Alieen Alunni, Debbi Bean, Joan Blaker, Lisa Blaker, Charlie Butler, Kathy Campion, Karen Caruso, Jim Conaboy, Kevin Conaboy, Mike Crossin, Mary Densevich, Theresa Durkin, Tracy Genell, Bill Hughes, Kathy Hughes, MaryCarol Kanton, Pete Kanton, Deacon Ed Kelly, Ann Kwak, Barb Politowski, Pat Salmon, Kim Simchak, Janet Skibinski, Cathy Skrutski, Donna Solon, Tim Speicher, Dave Tressler, and Joyce Tressler.

We would also like to give a special note of thanks to WNEP TV-16 and Lamar Advertising for all of the generous amount of publicity they provided about the tournament as well as WNEP TV-16 sports director and anchor Jim Coles and investigative reporter Dave Bohman for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share the day with us.

To download and view our program from the event please click here. The program lists the sponsors, benefactors, and prize donors whose generosity helped make this event possible.





Saintly Mother’s Life Story Ushers in Mother’s Day Celebration

Life is a journey and during it we all take different types of paths. Some of those paths take us on trips, some of them bring us to our destined career, and some of them lead us to the vocation God has for us. Just like us, St. Gianna Beretta Molla took all of those paths, but she also took another one very few of us will ever take – the path to sainthood. On Saturday, May 3, at our Mother’s Day Celebration and May Crowning, a chapel full of attendees learned about this blessed woman’s journey and just how much we can rely on her prayers in our time of need.

Following a Mass celebrated by our chaplain, Father E. Francis Kelly, Mr. Robert White, president of the Society of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, provided attendees with a captivating presentation about St. Gianna’s journey to sainthood as well as the power of her intercessory prayers.

Revered by the Catholic Church as a patron saint for mothers, physicians, and unborn children as well as a powerful intercessor for couples experiencing infertility, St. Gianna was born October 4, 1922 in Magenta, Italy. Although she did not excel in her studies as a child, following a spiritual retreat in 1938 focusing on St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, her grades improved dramatically. In fact she became so focused on academics, she became a doctor and opened a medical clinic in 1950 and later became a pediatric specialist in 1952.

Although her career was quite fulfilling, God took her on an additional path which led her to her future husband, Pietro Molla. After dating for just nine months, the couple married in 1955. During their marriage, they were blessed with three healthy children, but tragedy struck during Gianna’s final pregnancy. Due to complications from a uterine tumor, Gianna was faced with choosing her life or that of her unborn child. Without hesitation, Gianna fiercely insisted if a choice needed to be made the baby’s life should be spared instead of her own. Following the healthy delivery of her fourth child on April 21, 1962, Gianna Beretta Molla died at the age of 39 on April 28, 1962.

After hearing such an interesting account of St. Gianna’s life, we were blessed (or you might say it was providential) to have our very own Gianna serve as the May Queen for our May Crowning. Gianna Evans, who is the 11 year old granddaughter of one of our Residents, Barbara Pascale, processed up the middle aisle of our chapel with her mother, Jean, at her side as Barbara carried Our Lady’s crown of flowers.

Following the May Crowning, everyone in attendance, including several individuals who traveled more than an hour to our home, was looking forward to venerating and holding a pair of gloves that actually belonged to St. Gianna herself! And it’s no wonder everyone wanted to hold them after Mr. White explained that many people have reported experiencing various types of healings after holding the gloves. Just a few of them include a child being healed of cancer as well as couples who had been experiencing infertility suddenly finding themselves expecting! Talk about the power of prayer!

To learn more about this fascinating saint, please visit the Society’s website at To view photos of our special day, please click on the slide show listed below.



Until next time,








AJJs Use Many Parts to Build the Body of Christ





As I was sitting at Mass this morning listening to Father Kelly’s sermon about the work of the Association Jeanne Jugan (AJJ) in Little Sisters’ homes throughout the world, it made me start thinking about how the following scripture taken from 1 Corinthians applies to the AJJs: “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.”

Just as God equipped the human body with unique and individual parts to work together to keep it running smoothly, He also blessed each individual AJJ with unique talents that also work together to create great value in the lives of our Residents. Today, on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, following a year of formation classes, we were blessed to welcome five men and women into our AJJs to grow the group to more than 30 members! Along with the current members, all of these fine men and women each made a promise to serve Jesus in the elderly with joy and love. Just a few of the ways you can find our AJJs spreading that joy and creating that love include singing at karaoke night, playing bingo with a group, or spending an afternoon just talking about the “good ol’ days” with a Resident. You can also find our AJJs indirectly assisting our Residents by volunteering their time helping with office work, making fundraising phone calls, and using their artistic flair to make dolls to sell in our gift shop.

While the role of an AJJ certainly does include lots of fun, these men and women also develop their spiritual life by receiving ongoing formation about the charism of Jeanne Jugan as well as attending Mass and other special spiritual events at our home. By combining service and spirituality, our AJJs nourish their minds and hearts creating a strong body of Christ indeed!

If you are interested in learning how you can enrich your life as an AJJ, please contact Sister Kathleen at 570-343-4065 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Until next time, may God bless you!



Holy Cross Father Brings “The Joys of Lent” to Our Home

On Thursday, April 3, we were delighted to welcome Father Thomas Looney, C.S.C., to our Home to listen to his Lenten conference entitled “The Joys of Lent.” Father Looney, who is the director of campus ministry and chaplain of King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, always connects so well with people and his visit to our Home was no exception. Just to give you a preview of his talk, some of the joys of Lent include: “you are loved … you are saved … you are forgiven … you are not alone!”

To listen to Father’s inspiring words, please click here. Enjoy!





Actions Speak Louder Than Words on the Feast of St. Joseph


When I think of St. Joseph, the words strength, safety, comfort, and love come to mind. What’s interesting to me about that is that my impression is purely based only on St. Joseph’s actions – not on his words. I think when the evangelists were infused with the Holy Spirit to write the Bible, God purposely didn’t have them include anything St. Joseph said. I think he wanted St. Joseph to serve as a role model for humanity to show that we can often say more with our actions than we can with our words.

Keeping this thought in mind, I couldn’t help but notice the actions of several of our retired diocesan priests as they visited our Residents following our annual Feast of St. Joseph Mass on March 19. As I observed them, it was touching to see them listen to each of our Residents one by one with such interest and care. What a wonderful way to celebrate St. Joseph’s Feast – by imitating his example and letting their actions speak louder than their words.

Until next time,



Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Scranton Style


For those of you reading this that are not from Northeast Pennsylvania it may seem odd that the Little Sisters of the Poor decided to host its inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Dinner on March 9 – nine days before the actual feast day on March 17. But, in Scranton it’s not odd at all. You see, Scranton is a town which enjoys a rich Irish heritage originating from the many people who came from Ireland to Scranton to work in the coal mining industry in the late 1800s. From those roots, grew generations of men and women who take pride in their Irish ancestry and celebrate it each year at various Irish service organization events including the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade – one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States! Now that you know a wee bit about the background of our city’s heritage you can see why this feast is so celebrated in Scranton and why we were so excited to become part of the bigger celebration!

When I walked into our chapel on March 9, I beamed with Irish pride as I saw our hopes, planning, and hard work from the preceding months come together for our first community wide St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The event began with Mass complete with a bagpipe procession led by Pat Salmon Jr. During a beautiful Mass with a standing room only crowd of 160 people, Danny Marx sang wonderful Irish hymns as he played the organ while Pat accompanied him on the violin. After the Mass ended, Pat piped the recessional leading all of our guests to our auditorium to feast on ham and cabbage.

Prepared by our kitchen staff, nearly 700 people enjoyed our traditional ham and cabbage dinner throughout the afternoon as they were treated to live entertainment including Pat Salmon Jr. once again this time on the Irish fiddle, Frankie Gervasi of “The Poets”, and Irish step dancing by the Crossmolina School of Dance. Attendees also purchased chances to win over 50 theme baskets and gift certificates. And, they also sold out our bake sale of fresh scones straight from our kitchen and baked goods courtesy of Premo’s Bakery, Wilkes-Barre, and our AJJ members.

It really was a great day to be Irish and to celebrate Scranton’s heritage, but none of this would have been possible without the help of our dedicated committee members and volunteers as well as our sponsors. To see a complete list of all of our sponsors in our event program, please click here.

Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you!

From Preparations to Celebrations, Christmas Brings Great Joy


Wow! What a month! From Christmas preparations to Christmas celebrations, our Residents were certainly busy throughout December.


Starting the month off on the first Sunday of Advent, we enjoyed a special Mass which helped us begin to prepare our minds and hearts for the arrival of the Christ child on Christmas day. As the week progressed, the Residents participated in several Christmas events

but nothing could compare to the interactive Christmas show by “Young at Heart” that capped off this first week of December fun.


Throughout the rest of the month, we were blessed by a flurry of Christmas activities for our Residents to enjoy. They had several visits by numerous community groups including students from Marywood University and the University of Scranton as well as our hospitality club. The Residents also enjoyed caroling with members of the Junior League of Scranton, concerts by the Marywood Wind Ensemble and Providence United Presbyterian Choir, and visits by St. Nicholas and Santa himself! As you can tell, it was quite a month here at Holy Family Residence filled with much joy, but nothing could compare to the joy we felt as Christmas finally arrived.


Starting the celebration of our Savior’s birth, our Residents enjoyed a beautiful Mass in the evening on Christmas Eve followed by a Christmas cookie, hot chocolate, and egg nog social with family, friends, and the Little Sisters in the main dining room. And on December 25 with much anticipation, Christmas Day finally arrived! Following the spiritual celebration of this grand feast day, the Little Sisters sang Christmas carols with the Residents and also gave each Resident a special gift he or she requested.


As you can tell from this writing and the photos, we truly had a joyful Advent and Christmas season here at Holy Family Residence and so much of that joy is made possible because of your generosity. Thank you for continuously supporting our mission of caring for the elderly poor. We could not do what we do without you!



Saluting Our Veterans

I love Veterans Day. It is the one day of the year when I see people really make an extra effort to honor the brave men and women who selflessly served our country in war and in peace. Lucky for me, I was able to personally thank several World War II veterans at the Little Sisters Veterans Day ceremony on November 11.

During the ceremony, several members of our staff honored each of our Residents who served in the military by reading a short biography about their years of military service. It was quite a moving ceremony that brought tears to many peoples’ eyes as we honored our Residents and remembered those individuals who left for war but never returned home.

Listed below are the names of our Residents who proudly served in the United States military and protected the many freedoms we enjoy today. Thank you!

  1. Joe Connor: 1942-1947 – U.S. Navy
  2. Lillian Cottone: served for 11 years in the U.S. Navy as a WAVE
    (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service)
  3. William Dunseith: 1941-1947 – U.S. Army
  4. Mary Garvey, R.N.: 1941-1945 – U.S. Navy
  5. Stephen Gavin: 1941-1945 – U.S. Army
  6. Jim McAndrew: 1941-1943 – U.S. Navy
  7. Pat Pratico: 1943-1945 – U.S. Navy
  8. Jack Roche: 1943-1946 – U.S. Navy
  9. Chester Sadowski: 1941-1945 – U.S. Army
  10. Chester Sloski: 1956-1958 – U.S. Marine Corps



Holy Family Residence Hosts Inaugural Art Show

When she arrived at Holy Family Residence just a short time ago, Judy Contessa could never have imagined that her love for the arts would lead from sharing her drawing talents with fellow Residents into the creation of the Holy Family Residence Inaugural Art Show on October 25.

During the event, so many gifted Residents and staff members proudly displayed all types of art at the show including paintings, quilts, blankets, dolls, poetry, and more while Marywood University students provided light live piano music. Following the event, our very own patrons of the arts were treated to a hors d’oeuvre and dessert reception.

An old adage says “a picture is worth a thousand words.” To fill your mind with those words, please click here to review a photo slide show of the event. To review a snippet of Judy’s other talent – poetry – please read the reflection below Judy composed about this great event.



A Reflection on Our Art Show  ~  by Judy Contessa

There is a place called Holy Family Residence
They are a wonderful staff.
There are the Residents who are loved and well cared for.
And to everyone’s surprise, are great artists.

I drew some pictures.
Let the painting begin.
The joy and laughter, the pride, the friendships, the love.
And then, the art show!
Elegant-beautifully displayed, wonderful piano music.
And then, the food-delicious.
And then, the staff arts and crafts.

Who knew what a great time we would have.
Thank you, Residents and staff, family and friends.
And especially, our Little Sisters and our Saint Jeanne Jugan



Community “Springs” Into Action for Annual Roast Beef Dinner


We asked for your help and you “sprung” into action by supporting our annual roast beef dinner on October 20. Through the efforts of our staff and many volunteers, we served 800 dinners that day and raised approximately $26,000! We are so grateful to God and to all of you for this bountiful blessing! With these gifts, we were able to purchase new beds and mattresses for our Residents. The new mattresses really are quite comfortable and provide our Residents with restful nights of sleep which helps make their days brighter. If that brings a smile to your face it should because your continuous support is a big part of those brighter days!

There are so many people whom we are grateful to for helping us make this event such a success. We are especially indebted to Cathy Gavin and her staff from Stirna’s Restaurant for providing the delicious roast beef dinner to our patrons and to the National Bakery for the fresh dinner rolls. We would also like to thank Lamar Advertising for providing us with electronic billboards, WNEP-TV for the “In Your Neighborhood” commercial, and The Times-Tribune for promoting our event. We are also thankful to all of our dinner sponsors, benefactors, prize and baked good donors for their very generous support as well as the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association for their $600 matching grant for our baked goods stand. Last but certainly not least, we would like to thank our committee members and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this event our best dinner yet. Each of you truly embody and personify the family spirit of what make Holy Family Residence a home: Aileen Alunni, Lisa Blaker, Borthwick and Galvin families, Charlie Butler, Karen Caruso, Judy Cosgrove, Cathy DelPrete, Mary Densevich, Dylan Devine, Theresa Durkin, Faith Foley, Holy Cross High School students, Mary Kane, Pete and MaryCarol Kanton, Ann Kwak, Mary Ann Langan, Nevin Langan, Alice Micone, Carole Paswinski, Janet Skibinski, Cathy Skrutski, Kim Simchak, Sr. Gilmary Speirs, I.H.M., Joyce Tressler, and Karen and Howie Wyandt.

To view the program listing all of our dinner sponsors and supporters, please click here.

Until next time,



A Celebration Fit for a Saint

Each year on August 30, Residents, Little Sisters, Association Jeanne Jugan members, family, and friends gather at various Little Sisters’ homes throughout the world to celebrate the feast day of St. Jeanne Jugan. While Jeanne may not be as widely known as other saints such as Jude, Ann, and Anthony, her intercessory prayers are just as strong and her virtuous life is one worth studying and imitating in our own.

Here in Scranton, we marked her feast day with a special Mass and luncheon. The Mass, which was celebrated by Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, was extraordinary. In his homily, Bishop Bambera spoke so eloquently about St. Jeanne Jugan as he drew comparisons between her work and Jesus’ teachings in the Beatitudes.

Following the Mass, Bishop Bambera personally greeted every person who attended the Mass and then joined us for lunch.

As we feasted on a delicious turkey dinner with all of the trimmings, everyone enjoyed the operatic talents of Mr. Giovanni Antidormi. Giovanni, a tenor who has performed with the New York Lyric Opera Company and at Madison Square Garden, is always well received by our Residents and this year was no exception. He sang many Italian favorites, but the one that brought the crowd to its feet was “That’s Amore” – a favorite of all of our Residents and most especially Lena G. Being aware of Lena’s love of this song and all things Italian, Giovanni began to serenade her with this classic but was quickly and pleasantly surprised when Lena serenaded him instead!

As Giovanni continued to entertain, Mother Maureen announced that CNA Johnnie Gary had been nominated by his fellow employees and selected as the recipient of the 2013 St. Jeanne Jugan Award. This award is given annually to an employee who exemplifies the spirit of St. Jeanne Jugan and embodies a work ethic of humble service.

As you can tell, it was quite a day here at Holy Family Residence. Please click here to review a photo slideshow capturing highlights of the day.



Man’s Best Friends Own the Catwalk on National Dog Day

Fashion Week in New York City may begin this week, but Holy Family Residence’s favorite canines walked a catwalk of their own last week as we celebrated National Dog Day in style.

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, 15 canines and their owners “worked” the Holy Family Residence runway as they entered our auditorium. Modeling this season’s latest fashions which really showcased the creativity of our staff, these treasured pets really brought great delight to our Residents and made for a fun and relaxing afternoon.

Sorry you missed the fun? Don’t be! Relive the excitement of this event by checking out show photos by clicking here.






Little Sisters Inaugural Baseball Fundraiser Is A Hit!

What started as a small group outing for our Residents and employees grew into a fundraiser with a crowd of nearly 250 fans of minor league baseball AND the Little Sisters of the Poor gathering together for a spectacular night of fun, food, and fellowship on August 22 at the newly renovated PNC Field, Moosic.

But before I get ahead of myself, let me take a few steps back and fill in some details about how all of this came into play.

Back in January, I discovered that the rebranded and newly named Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Triple A baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees, were searching for community organizations to honor at each of their home games during the 2013 season. After discussing it with Mother Maureen, we decided this good and free program would be an excellent tool to reach out to the community to let them know what the Little Sisters of the Poor are all about. To our great delight, we were selected to participate in the program and would receive the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a game, promote the Sisters’ mission during on-field and radio interviews, and have a table on the ballpark concourse where the Sisters could talk with the community and share their mission.

Needless to say as word started traveling around our home that Mother Maureen would be “taking the hill” to throw out the first pitch, employees, benefactors, AJJ members, and friends started asking how they could get tickets to this special event.

With so much excitement building about the game, we decided to create our very own Little Sisters “fan gear” and had t-shirts promoting the event made and sold them for $5 each to attendees who bought their game tickets from our home. We also initiated a “Sponsor a Resident” program reaching out to the community to purchase tickets and fan gear for our Residents. Through the good will of many people, our efforts raised nearly $1,000 which is a great help to us!

As the months turned to weeks and then to days, our big night at the stadium finally arrived. While Mother was honored to be representing the Little Sisters by being interviewed on the field and throwing out the first pitch of the game, she was even more delighted when we received the news from the stadium on game day that one of our Residents would also be recognized through the RailRiders “Military Recognition Program” at the game. Upon entering the field with Mother Maureen, Mr. Pat Pratico, a 95 year old veteran of World War II, received a great round of applause as the emcee announced all of the places Pat fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy today. It was so touching to see so many people recognize his efforts. In fact, even as he was exiting the field and returning to his seat, people were clapping for him and stopping him to shake his hand and thank him for everything he has done for America. It really was the kind of moment that restores your faith in humanity and makes you proud to be an American.

Following Mother and Pat’s moments in the spotlight, the RailRiders took the field against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Even though the RailRiders lost the game by a score of 5-2, were we ever thrilled to be at one of the games New York Yankees all-star shortstop and captain Derek Jeter played at as he nursed a sore calf back to health. While some may call it luck, I can’t say I’m surprised Jeter was at our game … would heaven have it any other way on the Little Sisters of the Poor night?

As you ponder that deep thought (just kidding), check out these photos from the game by clicking here. Enjoy!

Until next time,




Annual Holy Family Carnival is The Tops

It’s hard to imagine that the success of our Holy Family Carnival last year could ever be topped, but the 2013 version did just that. On a picture perfect day that coincided with the feast day of St. Anne on July 26, our Residents, Sisters, staff, and friends enjoyed a day of fun, food, and family spirit on the grassy picnic grounds located up on the hill of our property where our Maloney Home used to stand.

Gathering together for this annual event, attendees were treated to numerous activities as well as lively music by Dr. Dragon Leo McLane. Just a few of the activities included games, a bounce house, a dunk tank, face painting, a pie eating contest, a water balloon toss, potato sack races, Father Ruth’s annual magic show, and the return of the ever popular petting zoo!

As you will see in the photos by clicking here, the Holy Family spirit
really soared at our annual carnival!




National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer Leads Three-Day Retreat at Holy Family Residence

It’s not every day that a national spiritual leader visits our home, but for three magnificent days in July we had the honor to host the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer Father James Kubicki, SJ.

From July 23-25, Father Kubicki, who is a contributor to many radio and television programs and is also a popular conference speaker, retreat director, and parish mission speaker, shared his expertise about the Eucharist, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Spiritual Exercises, and the practical spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer with us. And as you could imagine, Father’s vast array of knowledge provided our Little Sisters, Residents, AJJs, and friends with a much deeper and more spiritual appreciation of how a devout prayer life can really make one’s life complete.

While Father’s retreat was really quite a treat, the pinnacle of his visit took place when he enthroned the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our home. What a joy to know our home, which is filled with much happiness, will now experience a deeper and more profound response to God’s love!

Sounds like it was a great three days, doesn’t it? If you’re disappointed you missed the retreat, we have the next best thing available – audio of Father’s messages! To listen, please click here.






Seventh Annual Golf Tournament Breaks Records … In More Ways Than One

The clouds might have been gray and the skies may have cast a sprinkle of rain, but none of that stopped the record breaking 117 men and women who took to the links in the Little Sisters of the Poor’s seventh annual golf tournament on June 8.

Gathering together at the Scranton Municipal Golf Course to honor Msgr. John Louis, the golfers and sponsors donated a record breaking $19,212 to the Little Sisters. We are so grateful to them for their support of our mission of caring for the elderly poor!

Following a refreshment reception of fresh fruit, ice cold water, and crispy potato chips courtesy of DiMare Fresh, Inc., Hazzouri Brothers & Co., Inc., Nature’s Way Purewater, Wegman’s, and UTZ Quality Foods, Inc. respectively, the golfers hopped into their golf carts and took off like a shot to the greens at 1 p.m. as tournament co-chairman Gene Cosgrove officially declared the tournament underway. As the golfers worked their way through the challenging course, many of them used an extra measure of concentration on the second hole as they aimed to hit a hole in one to win a brand new car. Although nobody was lucky enough to win the car, we were lucky to have Burne Honda of Scranton provide our golfers with this wonderful opportunity.

After playing for just over four hours, the golfers worked up quite an appetite and feasted on a buffet dinner of caesar salad, ziti, meatballs, sausage and peppers, chicken, cake, and beverages as tournament co-chairmen Bob Blaker and Pat Sheridan awarded prizes to the tournament winners.

It really was a great day for our golfers and for Holy Family Residence, and it was made possible by the hard work and dedication of our tournament co-chairmen Patrick J. Sheridan, Gene Cosgrove, Chris James, and Bob Blaker as well as our dedicated committee members and volunteers: Aileen Alunni, Debbi Bean, Joan Blaker, Lisa Blaker, Charlie Butler, Kathy Campion, Jim Conaboy, Kevin Conaboy, Mike Crossin, Mary Densevich, Theresa Durkin, Joyce Gaylets, Tracy Genell, Mary Herman, Bill and Kathy Hughes, Pete and MaryCarol Kanton, Ann Kwak, Barb Marta, Barb Politowski, Joe Sheridan, Kim Simchak, Janet Skibinski, Cathy Skrutski, Donna Solon, Tim Speicher, and David Tressler.

We would also like to give a special acknowledgement to WNEP TV-16 and Lamar Advertising for all of the wonderful publicity they provided about the tournament as well as WNEP TV-16 sports director and anchor Jim Coles and meteorologist Kurt Aaron for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share the day with us.

To download and view our program from the event please click here. The program lists the sponsors, prize donors, and benefactors whose generosity helped make this event possible.

To view photos from the event, please click here.




Annual Mother Daughter Tea Well Worth The Trip!

The Mother Daughter Tea is a wonderful event for Mother’s Day. This year was the second tea that I attended with my mother, Kay Gallagher. The staff at Holy Family and the Association Jeanne Jugan does such a nice job planning this event, and they provide everyone with such delicious cookies to enjoy with our tea!

There are many aspects about this event that really make it special. It not only gives the Residents and their daughters an excuse to dress up, but it also provides a great opportunity to meet and socialize with other Residents and their family members each year. As someone who travels from Colorado annually for this event, the Mother Daughter Tea has begun to feel more like a family reunion to me. The Little Sisters, their staff, and all of the Residents’ families strive to make people feel so welcome and at home that they really do begin to feel like family.

The Mother Daughter Tea is also special to our family because it brings back many fond memories for my mother of sharing a daily cup of tea with her own mother. We also enjoy looking at the old pictures of the Residents with their children when they were young mothers and daughters themselves. This entire event is such a special thing to do on Mother’s Day weekend and a tradition my mother and I intend to keep sharing!

Please click here to view a photo slideshow from this event.




Marian Theologian Father Frederick Miller Offers Helpful Insights During “Awaiting the Spirit in this Year of Faith” Retreat      

“Awaiting the Spirit in this Year of Faith” at Holy Family Residence was facilitated by a three-day retreat on May 13-15 during the novena before Pentecost. Father Fredrick Miller, professor of systematic theology at Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Md., preached an old-fashioned, down-to-earth retreat.

Dolores, an apartment Resident, turned down a chance to go to a family gathering so she could participate in the retreat and she said, “Boy! Am I glad I stayed home!”

Another apartment Resident, Regina, loved the practical suggestions Father Miller gave at the end of each conference, like: “Come to chapel to make a little visit during the day.” “Offer your sufferings for our country.” “Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of prayer, and take time to pray.” 

George, a volunteer, said, “I knew the story of Fatima inside out, but Father Miller made it come alive. Mary’s message surely challenges us today.”

Chester, the Resident who leads the daily Rosary, said, “You got it right! Father got it right! We are joined by the angels at Mass! And, like little Francesco said, it’s good to spend time with the Hidden Jesus in the Eucharist.”

Besides record attendance at Masses and afternoon conferences, many confessions, and much positive feedback during the retreat, there was the grace of having Father Miller eat dinner in the dining room and meet with Residents, staff, and family members. Then, on Thursday, May 16, Father preached a Day of Recollection for our AJJs. It was really a Holy week at Holy Family!

To listen to Father’s talks, please click here.




Volunteer Caps 35-Year Teaching Career By Bringing Students to Holy Family Residence

Our Residents always enjoy having visitors and their favorites are often the smallest. Armed with that knowledge, Holy Family Residence volunteer Ann Marie Skrutski brought the students from her first grade class at Valley View Elementary Center, Peckville, to visit our home on May 7.

Arriving at 9:30 a.m., the 20 children brought such joy to our Residents as they sang songs and presented them with personalized homemade greeting cards and fresh flowers. Following the visit, the children enjoyed milk and cookies and each received a plush toy from the Little Sisters.

We really enjoyed hosting the children, and we are grateful to Ann Marie, and her sister and fellow volunteer, Kathy Skrutski, for their dedication to our home. We would especially like to thank Ann Marie for bringing the children to visit a final time as she ends her 35-year teaching career. Thank you, Ann Marie, and may God continue to bless you for all of the good that you do!

To view the photos from this special visit, please click here.



Eight New Members Join the Association Jeanne Jugan

Happy St. Joseph Day! Yes, you read that right. I said St. Joseph. I realize his feast day is March 19, but he is such a blessed example for all of humanity that he is honored a second time on May 1 – specifically as St. Joseph the Worker.

One of the special activities that takes place in our home on May 1, as we honor St. Joseph, is the ceremony where the current and incoming members of the Association Jeanne Jugan (AJJ) make a promise to serve as an extension of the Little Sisters’ work in the world. Making this commitment on St. Joseph’s feast day – who has been the protector of the Little Sisters’ Congregation since its inception – men and women promise to help spread the spirit of St. Jeanne Jugan by participating in the pastoral, recreational, and cultural activities of the Little Sisters’ homes.

With the dedication of 20 current members and eight new ones, our Little Sisters have quite a group of people with diverse and unique talents to assist them in making the Residents happy!

To learn more about the AJJs and determine if you’re called to this ministry, please click here.



Jigs, Reels, Scones, and Music Cap Off St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

On Saturday, March 10, Irish step dancers ushered in the start of our two-week St. Patrick’s Day celebration with an hour of jigs and reels. The dancers did so well it seemed as if they floated through the air barely touching the floor as they performed the Irish dances.

The following Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, brought more Irish fun and entertainment to our home. After we feasted on a corned beef and cabbage lunch complete with all of the trimmings, we spent the afternoon listening to Kevin Campion sing some Irish favorites as he played along on his guitar. As we sipped on Irish coffee, we really enjoyed all of the classics he played, and we hope he comes back again to play for another full house of appreciative Residents.

As I close this BLOG entry, I would like to offer the following Irish proverb as it sums up how many of us feel about living at Holy Family Residence: “A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.


















Good St. Joseph, Pray for Us

Good St. Joseph, pray for us. 


Oh, how often I find myself offering up that prayer and I know many other people who do as well and with good reason. St. Joseph is the ideal saint to turn to when we need that special feeling of reassurance of knowing everything will be okay when we face struggles in life. After all, our fathers serve as our first protector and guardian in life, who better to continue in that role than St. Joseph?

Here at Holy Family Residence, we celebrated St. Joseph and his role as protector of the Little Sisters’ congregation with a beautiful Mass in our chapel on his feast day, March 19. The Most Rev. James C. Timlin, D.D., bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Scranton, and numerous diocesan priests concelebrated the 11 a.m. Mass for us.

Following the Mass, Bishop Timlin and the priests served the Residents a delicious lunch consisting of prime rib, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and cake. Following lunch, the bishop greeted each Resident individually and provided them with a St. Joseph prayer card to commemorate the day.

Once the Residents finished lunch, the bishop, priests, and members of our Association Jeanne Jugan enjoyed lunch and conversation in our café.

Until next time,









Pineapples and Pomegranates Provide Lessons in Hospitality on the Feast of St. John of God

When I arrived at work on March 8, the feast day of St. John of God, I would never have guessed I would learn so much about hospitality from two pieces of fruit. But after attending, Sister Kathleen’s 15-minute morning workshop, “Pineapples and Pomegranates: The Mystery of Hospitality,” I not only gained knowledge about the symbolism of pineapples and pomegranates, but also and more importantly, I discovered how the role of hospitality was established in the life of the Little Sisters.

Before I share the story behind the pineapples and pomegranates, I would like to tell you a little bit about St. John of God and how his devotion to the poor relates to the Little Sisters.

St. John of God, who was born in Portugal on March 8, 1495 to devout Christian parents, started his service to the sick and poor in Granada, Spain in 1539. He began his work by renting a house and converting it into a modest hospital. Upon its establishment, he combed the city searching for the afflicted and then brought them to his hospital sometimes carrying them on his back. By day, he provided for their physical and emotional needs and by night he searched the city for donors who would provide him with supplies to keep his fledging hospital operating. As word of his work spread, more people assisted him with the gifts of their time and treasure. From these very humble beginnings the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God was born. Today, the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God have health care centers located around the world where they continue to serve the sick and the poor.

Inspired by the charism of the Hospitaller Brothers over 300 years later, St. Jeanne Jugan, the Mother Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, adopted this same virtue of hospitality into her newly formed congregation. She also followed the Brothers “begging” tradition of engaging the public to assist her in her work by donating food, supplies, and financial gifts – just as the Little Sisters still do today!

Now that we have that covered, you might be asking “where do the pineapples and pomegranates come in?” I’m glad you asked! Let’s talk about the pomegranate first. While you may know that the pomegranate is a type of fruit, did you know its Spanish translation is Granada? And if you remember, earlier in this BLOG I mentioned Granada is where St. John of God established his congregation. As for the pineapple, it has served as a symbol of hospitality and warm welcome in America dating back to colonial days. Together, our Sisters and staff united the two on St. John of God’s feast day as a clever way to learn more about him and hospitality.

After enjoying such an interesting presentation our Residents continued their exploration into Spain with an afternoon demonstration of Spanish dance by Mr. and Mrs. Vince Brust of Vince Brust Studios, Throop. Mr. Brust, who has had extensive dance training and has taught dance for over 25 years, demonstrated the mambo, merengue, rumba, tango, and he even had all of our Residents perform the macarena! It was quite a treat to see the happiness on our Residents’ faces as they danced. Following the performance, we capped off the day with what else – pineapple upside down cake and pomegranate-coconut juice.

Until next time,



Habemus Papam! Residents Pray the Rosary for Pope Francis Upon His Election

After the white smoke cleared and the newly elected Pope Francis blessed them via the television airwaves, our Residents quickly gathered on the St. Anne unit to pray the Rosary for our newly elected pope. Together with Catholics worldwide, we pray that Our Lady will guide him and bless him as he works to build our church and lead us into the future.

Vivat Franciscum!

Resident Mary G. holds her rosary as Sister Julie, l.s.p., leads the Residents in prayer.




Hooray for Hollywood: Movie Musicals Themed Parade Kicks Off Scranton Mardi Gras Celebration

The hills of Scranton were certainly alive with the sound of music as the Residents, staff, and Little Sisters ushered in Mardi Gras Hollywood style with a movie musicals themed parade on February 12.


Kicking off the event, the “Captain von Trapp” of our kitchen, Pat O’Malley, blew a whistle commencing the parade to begin. Upon the sounds of the whistle’s shrill shriek, the Little Sisters and kitchen staff paraded into the auditorium as they sang “My Favorite Things” from the “The Sound of Music.” And later in the parade, our second floor nurses and Residents reprised the musical with their rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune “Do-Re-Mi.”


Next up, we were taken back to the 1950s to Rydell High School as the T-Birds from our maintenance staff, the Pink Ladies from our activities department, and several Residents rolled into town via their own car! Bringing back the best of the sock-hoppers, their salute to “Grease” was quite a treat!


Although it was rainy outside, the sun did come out in our auditorium during Mardi Gras – but how could it not with our third floor nursing staff and Residents’ rendition of “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie.” Complete with Annie, Daddy Warbucks, Miss Hannigan, and even Sandy the dog, this group really put on quite a show.


While everyone did enjoy Annie’s splash of sunshine, the rain did return, but nobody seemed to mind – in fact they started “Singin’ in the Rain.” Created by our business, human resources, and development offices as well as several third floor Residents, Resident Eugene M. did his very best impression of Gene Kelly as he led the spirited group sporting colorful rain gear into the auditorium.


And speaking of color, we were greeted by quite a splash of pastels in the costumes some of the ladies who live and work on our third floor as well as in our apartments adorned as they showed off their best Audrey Hepburn impressions for “My Fair Lady.”


Last, but certainly not least, it is only fitting that the crowning musical of our parade would be fit for a king. Performed by some of our third floor Residents, nursing and kitchen staff as well as apartment Residents, “The King and I” was a delight.


Following the parade, second floor Residents Joe B. and Ann M. were crowned the king and queen of the festivities as everyone feasted on King Cake and other refreshments while listening to live entertainment by Greg Palmer.


To see just how much our Residents enjoyed this special day, please click here to view a photo slide show.







Bearing Fruit for the Lord

As a part of our Lenten journey here at Holy Family Residence, we are trying to embrace Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten message, “Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity,” by making a special effort to perform acts of charity. As a way to recognize these good works, we have asked our Residents and staff to anonymously pin a piece of the paper fruit we have provided to the painting of a barren tree located outside of our chapel. Our hope is that as each act is performed, the love of Jesus will grow even stronger in all who live and work here, since, as Pope Benedict stated: “Faith without works is like a tree without fruit!” By Easter we pray that our tree will be full, bountiful, and an inspiration to all to keep bearing fruit for the Lord.















Seeing the Goodness Living in Us: Father Richard Burke, C.P., Offers Inspirational Words for Our Lenten Journey

At the beginning of Lent, many of us start our 40-day journey with great intentions and grand plans to engage in all sorts of activities which will help us grow closer to God. But, being human, the stresses and activities of daily life often get in our way. We soon find our enthusiasm wanes, and we don’t fulfill those grand plans after all.


If you find yourself in this place, you’re not alone. We’re human. We make mistakes. And God expects that. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can renew our journey toward goodness with him each day, every hour, or even every minute if that’s what it takes to keep us moving closer to him.


As Father Richard Burke, C.P. of St. Ann’s Monastery and Basilica told us during his talk, “Living Our Baptism in Lent,” at our home, on February 18, God sees our perfection! He sees the goodness living in us! And as we grow closer to God we can make the goodness more fully alive!


Would you like to learn how to bring out that goodness? Click here, and listen to Father’s Burke’s message – the fourth installment in the Little Sisters’ Year of Faith series.






An “Ecumenical” Cruise

On Gaudete Sunday during Advent, a Little Sister had the idea for a way to continue the “rejoice”-ing of Christmas even after the Christmas season would end. In order to accentuate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity during this Year of Faith, could we take the Residents on a European cruise to explore the origins of the divisions among Christians and the hopes for future unity? Working with the Activities Department, a plan was developed that would integrate the temporal and the spiritual, with all the activities of a cruise and a time of prayer or discussion each day related to Christian Unity.


The big adventure began on January 18th, the first day of the Unity Octave. In the morning the Residents picked up their passports (complete with their picture inside) and plane tickets for the “flight” to Rome, from where the cruise boat would set out. In the afternoon they went to the “bank” to collect their travel funds, from the First National Bank of Funny Money. At 4:15pm we went to the chapel for our Ecumenical Service, led by Fr. Erick Bergman, a priest who came into the Catholic Church from the Episcopalian Church several years ago. Father explained to us that it was the Catholic Church’s pro-life stance which ultimately led him to come into union with Rome, along with half of the parishioners of his Episcopalian parish. Fr. Bergman was the first priest incardinated into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in May 2012. 


At supper it was time to board the plane for Rome. The pantry aides on each floor posed as flight attendants, checking the Residents in and making them leave behind over-sized luggage! Aside from a “security breach” on the 3rd floor, all went smoothly and everyone settled in for the overnight flight to Rome. In the morning it was time to board the ship. Earlier in the week the Residents on each floor had chosen names for their boats, Residents as captains and staff as First Mates. The activities staff outdid themselves in creating boat designs for each floor, which stretched the whole length of the dining room wall. 


Before the ship would launch at noon, a Little Sister gave a short talk explaining what the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is all about. The talk ended just in time for the Rosary and Mass, and then it was time for the ships to launch! Everyone had a balloon and (despite a few technical difficulties) over the PA system a foghorn could be heard, followed by “Anchors Aweigh”. The travelers enjoyed a buffet lunch, and then had a short rest before heading to the “Auditorium Sea Port” for a Chinese New Year party. 


On Sunday we arrived in France, with lunch at the famous Parisian “Saint Famille Bistro”. For this and all the rest of the dinners and suppers, small cards were at each person’s place with the day’s special indicated. After a short rest, travelers could enjoy a video tour of Paris with Madeleine, and then several came to the chapel for the regular weekly holy hour, this week offered especially for the intention of Christian unity. After the Holy Hour it was time for “Un Verre de Joie” in the dining rooms before supper at “Monique’s by the Sea”.


After a good night’s rest, Monday was “Dress Like a Tourist” Day for everyone. The travelers enjoyed French toast and sausage at the “Jugan Café”, before going shopping on the Champs-Elysees to choose their fancy dresses for the dinner dance coming up on Thursday. We then sailed across the Channel to England, and had a special visit from Queen Elizabeth II during lunch at Buckingham Palace. After going souvenir shopping at the Bingo Prize Boutique, a large group came for an afternoon tea party, which included a discussion about the new movements towards unity with Anglicans and Episcopalians. Of course a visit to England wouldn’t be complete without a fish and chips supper and a trip to the race track where everyone could bet on their favorites.


On Tuesday morning the ladies had time at the spa while we sailed from England to Norway. Noontime brought two options for the travelers: to either enjoy a Norwegian lunch or to go to the Cathedral for a pro-life Mass, with lunch on return to the house. Only a few Residents could participate in the second option, because of the bitter cold weather that set in overnight. The others who stayed home were the victims of a surprise pirate attack during their noon meal! A Resident’s daughter wrote up a short script that staff members acted out, bringing lots of laughs to all. There are certain comforts of home that our Residents can’t do without, even on a cruise, so on Tuesday afternoon we had a cash bingo, with a Norwegian supper in the evening. 


After Norway, everyone put on their green and our boat headed to Ireland, and on Wednesday morning a Little Sister gave a short presentation about the Irish “troubles” before the ship docked for a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner in the auditorium, complete with live entertainment by the husband of the Human Resources Director. In the afternoon everyone could relax and enjoy a video tour of the Emerald Isle, and in the evening the “Karaoke Lasses” led the travelers in a rousing hour of song and dance.


Thursday morning brought the spirit of competition out with a bowling tournament in the hallway outside the Physical Therapy department. We were on our way to Greece, where we would dock for a special dinner dance where everyone could wear the fancy dresses they had purchased in Paris on Monday. In the afternoon a Little Sister spoke about the “Separation of Christians East and West”, and after supper there was another favorite event, Bingo!


Before leaving Greece, we stopped in an Orthodox Church to see how it is different from our Western churches. Headed back to Italy, this was the day to dress in red. We finally arrived back in Rome, where everyone enjoyed an Italian buffet with live entertainment by singer Giovanni Antidormi. In the afternoon we watched the Holy Father’s Vesper service from Rome for the end of the Week of Prayer, and enjoyed a pizza supper. 


We finally flew back home on Saturday, thanking God for all the blessings of the week and asking him to bring us ever closer to him and to one another.


Click Here to view a photo slideshow from this event



Celebrating the True Reason for the Season

Happy New Year! Forgive me for not writing lately, but December was filled with so much activity here at Holy Family Residence I barely had time to sit at my desk to write. But please know even when you do not hear from us, you are always in the thoughts and prayers of the Little Sisters and Residents.

Now that I am back online, let me get you up to speed with all of the activity taking place in our home. Following our roast beef dinner in October, the month of November started and ended in the blink of an eye. And once November ends, the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas begins. While that can be quite a daunting task, thankfully, we have plenty of volunteers and friends to help us make our home look so lovely and the Little Sisters to help prepare us spiritually.

We started off the holiday season with our annual St. Nicholas Party on December 9. This party, which teaches the young and young at heart about the religious origin of Santa Claus, seems to get bigger and better each year – and 2012 was no exception. An afternoon filled with the laughter of our Residents’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as our employees’ children and grandchildren, this event began the holiday season perfectly. Resident Kay Gallagher once again captured the hearts of the children in attendance this year as she read the story of St. Nicholas. As the children listened, they learned many things about this saint, and they were even happier when St. Nicholas arrived! Portrayed by Father E. Francis Kelly, chaplain of Holy Family Residence, St. Nicholas visited the children, had photos with them, and gave each of them a present.

Next on our list of holiday festivities, neighboring Marywood University’s Wind Ensemble entertained our Residents and their families and friends with a beautiful Christmas concert. Our auditorium was filled with the echoes of brass and woodwind instruments as they united in song with the sounds of traditional and religious music. It really is quite a moving experience, and we are grateful to our friends at Marywood for providing us with this gift each December.
No Christmas in Scranton would be complete without taking a tour of the light displays of several neighborhoods in town. Riding throughout the streets in style via the Holy Family bus while sipping on piping hot chocolate, our Residents not only enjoyed many beautifully adorned homes, but also toured the city’s major light display at Nay Aug Park as well as the famous display at the home of Tom Culkin on Moosic Street. Mr. Culkin, who is a son of Resident Loretta Culkin, really does an outstanding job decorating his house for Christmas and has provided this annual holiday treat to city residents for over 30 years!

Now that everyone was surely feeling the Christmas spirit, it was time to celebrate the true reason for the season – Jesus’ love! And what better way to do that than to share that love with family and friends. Beginning at 4 p.m. on December 15, our Residents and their families participated in Lessons and Carols recounting the birth of Jesus followed by a lovely dinner and live entertainment by Greg Palmer. And at 2:30 p.m. on December 20, our Residents and staff continued the celebration at Holy Family Residence’s annual Resident-employee party where Residents received gifts from their secret Santa employee. Complete with homemade Christmas cookies courtesy of our kitchen staff as well as music, this annual tradition was capped off with a visit from Santa Claus. While the actual Santa could not break away from the North Pole that day, he found a good helper in Pat Walsh, a son of Resident Kay Walsh.

While celebrating the secular fun of the season was a joy, nothing can compare to the peace and love that we felt as we celebrated the Christmas Vigil and Day Masses on December 24 and 25.

Just as the Christmas Eve Mass was about to start, Kay Walsh, escorted by her son Jack, carried the final and most important piece of the nativity set, baby Jesus, down the center aisle of our chapel and gently handed it Father Kelly to place into the nativity scene. Celebrating beautiful masses on both Christmas Eve and Day, Father delivered homilies that spoke not only to our minds, but also to our hearts leaving us filled with God’s peace.

As you can tell, Christmas really was quite wonderful here at Holy Family Residence. It takes the talents and support of many people to provide our Residents with a happy holiday, and we cannot thank all of you enough for your prayerful and financial support. Together, they make all of these events possible.

Please take a moment to review our Christmas slide show by clicking here. And please be sure to check back each month for all of the latest happenings at Holy Family Residence.

Until next time,



Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus John Dougherty Offers Third Installment in “Year of Faith” Series at Holy Family Residence

With the Advent season upon us and Christmas right around the corner, it was quite nice to find respite in a talk given by the Most Rev. John M., Dougherty, D.D., auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Scranton, at our home on December 4.

Providing the third installment in the Little Sisters’ monthly “Year of Faith” series, Bishop Dougherty provided attendees with some wonderful insights about the scriptures and our Catholic faith during his presentation in our chapel.

To learn more about our faith, please listen to Bishop Dougherty’s talk by clicking here.





Letting Go and Letting God: A Reflection with Father James Rafferty in the Little Sisters’ “Year of Faith” Series

“What pleases God the most, is when we let him take care of us,” explained Father James Rafferty, vocation director for the Diocese of Scranton, as he addressed more than 50 people in the chapel of Holy Family Residence for the November installment in the Little Sisters’ “Year of Faith” series.

During his talk, Father explained that in order to continuously build our faith, we must build a greater dependence on God. While we can indeed do this because we are designed in God’s image, why do so many of us struggle with it? Why is it we can’t just “let go, and let God?”

According to Father Rafferty, the key to building the faith to “let go, and let God,” is to share every aspect of our lives with God – the good and the bad. Although letting God share in the good is easy to do, Father stressed we also need to do the much more challenging work of sharing our hurts and failings with him. For when we entrust these aspects of our lives to him and later see the good that comes from those experiences, our faith does indeed grow.

To listen to Father Rafferty’s talk, please click here.



Little Sisters’ Annual Roast Beef Dinner a Success!

The beef was cooked; the potatoes were mashed; and the carrots were buttered and ready to serve as the Little Sisters of the Poor welcomed the public to their second annual roast beef dinner fundraiser last Sunday.

Starting at noon on October 21, the Sisters were pleased to serve over 600 dinners to hungry dinner patrons throughout the entire afternoon. The dinner, which was catered courtesy of Stirna’s Restaurant, served not only as a fundraiser, but also as a way to bring people together to learn more about our apostolate and mission to serve Jesus in the elderly poor.

The dinner, which included roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, applesauce, rolls and butter, pie, and assorted beverages, was absolutely delicious! The food was really good at last year’s roast beef dinner, but I think Cathy Gavin of Stirna’s Restaurant really flexed her cooking muscles extra tight this year.

While patrons feasted on this tasty treat, they enjoyed live, easy-listening piano music. Following dinner, our visitors were kind enough to support our basket and gift certificate raffles as well as our craft sale, bake stand, and our very special Mount Airy Casino Resort $5,000 Weekend Getaway prize package raffle. Because of the generosity of these donors and our major sponsors we were able to raise much needed funds for our home. To see the dinner program, which includes the names of our donors and sponsors, please click here.

As you will see in the pictures from the fundraiser, which you can access by clicking here, it was quite a day – and quite a success! Thanks be to God!

P.S. If you missed out on the Mt. Airy Raffle, don’t worry! The drawing for that prize is December 31. For chances, call (570) 343-4065.



Father Thomas Looney, C.S.C. introduces Scranton Sisters’ “Year of Faith” Series

Fall break at King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, may have been a welcome rest for students, but it also offered our home a great break too – in Father Looney!

Father Thomas Looney, C.S.C., a Holy Cross priest who serves as the director of campus ministry and chaplain at King’s, spent the second day of his fall break with us at Holy Family Residence. During his visit, he introduced the Little Sisters’ monthly series about the “Year of Faith.”

During his talk on October 12, Father celebrated a Mass especially for the Sisters and then offered a wonderful talk to the Residents and the entire Scranton community about ways to increase our reliance on God. Following his message, we shared in prayer and Benediction. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was also available.

To listen to Father Looney’s talk, please click here.



Carmella Summa’s 100th Birthday Ushers in Autumn at Holy Family Residence

If any of you gets the chance to take a ride through the Scranton area, you would be captivated by the beauty of the fall foliage that has been on display. As we look out of the windows of our home, our Residents have really been enjoying the breathtaking views of the mountains which are dotted with yellow, orange, and red leaves this time of year. The Lord has really given us quite a treat this season!

Speaking of treats, we certainly enjoyed many of them just a few weeks ago as we celebrated our dear Resident Carmella Summa’s 100th birthday! In fact, this occasion was so special we celebrated it twice – on Carmella’s actual birthday, September 28, and again with her entire family on September 29.

At both parties, Carmella was treated to presents and cake with her family, Little Sisters, staff, and of course our Residents! They were great days for everyone who attended, but especially for Carmella. When Mother Maureen asked her to share her secrets for longevity, Carmella said,

“God has loved us so much that He put us here in Holy Family where everyone is so good to us, and we’ll live here for the rest of our lives!”

I have a feeling Carmella has been good to many people in her life too and now she is reaping the benefits of all that love.

God bless you Carmella! We look forward to many happy years with you to come!


“I am yours.” - Sr. Joseph Mary of Jesus Celebrates 25 Years of Service as a Little Sister of the Poor

“I am yours.”

That was the key theme not only from the homily Father James Rafferty, Scranton Diocesan Director of Vocations and Seminarians, gave about Sr. Joseph Mary of Jesus nearly two weeks ago but also for the two-day celebration in her honor as she celebrated 25 years of service to the elderly as a Little Sister of the Poor on the weekend of September 7 and 8.

Sr. Joseph Mary of Jesus, more commonly known at our home as Sr. Joseph, serves as the Sister Supervisor on the second floor in the St. John of God Unit. While Sr. Joseph can often be found serving our Residents and their families, she is also very gifted in music and provides much of the liturgical music at our daily Masses.

Although she, like all of the Little Sisters, dedicates her life to serving others, on September 7 and 8, it was our turn to serve Sr. Joseph as she was treated to a host of celebrations.

Starting with a salute to Sister’s Italian heritage, the Sisters and staff prepared an Italian themed outdoor party to kick-off this special weekend. Complete with pizza and cannoli, Sr. Joseph was delighted to see so many Residents, Sisters from other homes, staff, volunteers, and friends ready to greet her as she entered the party area.

After she took her seat, Italian tenor Giovanni Antidormi introduced a cute skit featuring the Mayor of Rome, “Roberto Blakerino”, and his “mama”, portrayed by our Maintenance Director Bob Blaker and Resident Enis Kemberling. Following a roar of jubilant laughter from the crowd at “Roberto” and “mama’s” jovial antics, “Roberto” introduced another special guest – the “Pope” himself! Although our actual Holy Father couldn’t make the trip, he found a good representative in our Chaplain Father E. Francis Kelly.

Following Father’s crowd pleasing remarks, he presented Sr. Joseph with a proclamation declaring September 7 and 8 “Sr. Joseph Mary of Jesus Days” in Scranton.

After the skits ended, the group enjoyed musical entertainment by Giovanni who started his performance with a magnificent rendition of the “Ave Maria” followed by classic Italian and American favorites.

Even though Friday’s fun was a wonderful treat, Saturday took a more reverent, yet joyful tone as we attended a special Mass for Sr. Joseph. Following a beautiful homily by Father Rafferty, Sr. Joseph renewed her vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and hospitality as a Little Sister of the Poor.

Following the Mass, over 150 of Sr. Joseph’s friends and fellow Sisters gathered in our auditorium to enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner of chicken cordon bleu and all of the trimmings prepared by our kitchen staff. The kitchen staff always provides our Residents with quality home cooked meals, but they really outdid themselves with this dinner!

After dinner, everyone enjoyed the short play, “Rosita” written by our very own evening cook, John McHale.

“Rosita” tells the story of Sr. Joseph’s life and how she discovered her calling to become a Little Sister. It was such a joy to see how God revealed his plan for her life and how he used the influence of caring and Godly women, particularly the I.H.M. Sisters, to help her discover her vocation. A special thank you is extended to the entire cast, which was composed of staff, Residents, I.H.M. Sisters, and friends of our home, who really made the show such a success!

While we truly enjoyed celebrating these days with Sr. Joseph, what made it bittersweet is the fact that she will be transferred to our home in Washington D.C. at the end of the month where she will continue her mission with the elderly.

God bless you Sr. Joseph! We’ll miss you!

To review photos from this special weekend, please click here.



Feast Day Celebration of St. Jeanne Jugan Caps Off Busy Summer in Scranton

Things sure have been busy this summer in Scranton. Our Residents really have had full social and spiritual schedules!

While our Residents have certainly enjoyed the everyday activities of our home, the annual Holy Family Carnivals provided the peak of our fun in the sun and the celebration of St. Jeanne Jugan’s Feast Day gave all of us a beautiful reminder of why we conduct ourselves in our work and our daily living in a manner that really fills our home with God’s love.

You may have noticed in that last paragraph, that I wrote that we had Holy Family Carnivals. That wasn’t a typo – we actually had two of them this summer! Normally, we have our annual outdoor carnival in July, however due to stormy skies on carnival day, we had to move it indoors. But that didn’t stop us from having fun! We still had a picnic lunch with all of the trimmings as well as lots of games and even a clown!

In August at Holy Family Carnival – Part II, the weather was absolutely perfect as we headed up to the picnic area on our nearby hilltop for a full day of events. The activities included games, an employee dunk tank, face painting, a pie eating contest, potato sack races, a water balloon toss, Father Ruth’s magic show, and even a petting zoo.

Although the carnivals provided us with an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, the celebration of St. Jeanne Jugan’s Feast Day was the pinnacle of our celebratory summer.

On August 30, Residents, Little Sisters, Association Jeanne Jugan members, family, and friends gathered for a special Mass, luncheon, and healing service. The Mass, which was celebrated by Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, was extraordinary. In his homily, Bishop Bambera spoke about St. Jeanne Jugan with such reverence and respect as he paralleled her work with the works our Little Sisters do each and every day.

Following the Mass, Bishop Bambera took the time to personally greet every person who attended the Mass and then joined us for lunch. At the lunch, the Bishop publicly congratulated Sr. Joseph Mary of Jesus, who is the Little Sister in charge of the St. John of God Unit, for 25-years of service to the elderly poor as a Little Sister.

As we enjoyed dessert, Mother Maureen announced one of our nurses, Dorothy Kalaus, had been nominated by her fellow employees and selected as the recipient of the 2012 St. Jeanne Jugan Award. This award is given annually to an employee who exemplifies the spirit of St. Jeanne Jugan and embodies a work ethic of humble service. Following the presentation, everyone enjoyed a ballroom dancing demonstration by students from Vince Brust Studios.

As the luncheon came to a close, we prepared for a special healing service in the chapel given by Brother Thomas Osorio of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God. It was really beautiful to witness the devotion of our Residents as they sought out God’s healing via a blessing with the relic of St. John of God at the service.

As you can tell, it has been quite a summer here at Holy Family Residence.


Please click here to review a photo slide show with pictures from many of these events. Enjoy!



Walking Across America Brings Residents and Employees Closer

One of the things that contributes to the family spirit in our home is the personal attention our Residents receive from the Sisters and our staff. In order to continue to foster that spirit and the love it brings, the Sisters and the staff developed the quality assurance program entitled “Walk Across America.”

Walk Across America is a program where Residents are placed onto a team of five members. These five Residents are then paired with a 10-person employee team. Each employee then takes a little bit of time out of his or her day to visit their Resident teammates. If a Resident is able, our employees go for a walk with or “wheel” them throughout our home or outside on our grounds. And for every five minutes an employee spends with a Resident, he or she earns one mile. These miles are then totaled at the end of the month, and the team with the most miles wins a pizza party for their entire team – a big hit with our employees and our Residents!

After the party, our Activities Office assigns the employee teams with new Resident teams. It truly is a wonderful way for our employees and our Residents to bond and get to know one another better. And I am happy to report we have collectively “walked” approximately 2,700 miles on our trip throughout our nation!














Little Sisters Take Mission to the Airwaves

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, Sr. Gerard Marie, Sr. Kathleen, and I ventured out of our home to the home of JMJ Radio on a united mission: to tell Northeastern Pennsylvania about St. Jeanne Jugan.

As you might have guessed, JMJ Radio, named in deference to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, is a Catholic radio station which provides local and national programming to listeners in Northeastern Pennsylvania via WQOR 750 AM and online at

When we arrived at the studio, which is located in the offices of the Oblates of St. Joseph Seminary in Pittston, Pa., we were greeted by station owner Ed Niewinski. Following a tour of the seminary’s beautiful chapel, we made our way to the second floor of the building and entered the studio. After we received some brief instructions and conducted our sound checks with the station engineer, Mr. Niewinski introduced us to listeners in the station’s 11-county region! Talk about nerve wracking! But, our anxieties were quieted quickly as we opened the show with the novena prayer to St. Jeanne Jugan.

During our nearly 30 minutes on the air, it was a joy for me to interview Sr. Gerard Marie and Sr. Kathleen. Together, they did a wonderful job explaining the apostolate of the Little Sisters, how the congregation was formed, what it’s like to be a Little Sister, and inviting the community to celebrate Mass with us in the chapel at our home on St. Jeanne Jugan’s feast day.

Following the show, we enjoyed a little visit with Fr. Paul McDonnell, O.S.J. who is the seminary rector and vocation director at the Oblates as well as an executive board member and a spiritual advisor to JMJ Radio. Fr. Paul is also a good friend to the Little Sisters and has visited our home to celebrate Mass.

We really had an exciting day at the station, and we look forward to visiting again to share the good news of Jesus!

To listen to the Little Sisters’ broadcast, please click on the following link. To learn more about JMJ Radio, please visit

Christmas in July – a Special Treat and Oh So Sweet

The calendar may have said July, but it felt more like December at Holy Family Residence’s recent “Christmas in July” party.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. on July 30, our Residents arrived in our auditorium and were greeted by some of Santa’s very special elves who made the trip to Scranton just for us! After everyone took their seats, these special visitors, otherwise known as the Adcroft family, took to our stage to entertain us.

Starting with a skit, the Adcrofts gave a memorable performance which also included caroling and a special emphasis on Jesus – the true reason for the Christmas season. Following the show, Santa visited each of our Residents and gave them a present.

We extend our sincere thanks to the Adcroft family for providing our Residents with this special treat each year as well as the sweet treats they bring – Krispy Kreme doughnuts – a favorite of our Residents.

The Adcrofts, who are volunteers at Holy Family Residence, sponsor our “Christmas in July” party each year as a tribute to their late mother, Pat, who volunteered her time and talents at our home for many years.















Golfing “Fore” Good!

While the weather forecast may have predicted rain, good St. Joseph interceded for us as the skies parted and sun shined on our sixth annual golf tournament on June 9. Joined by nearly 100 golfers, we were pleased to honor Holy Family Residence volunteers Pete and MaryCarol Kanton on this special day.

Prior to the 1 p.m. shot-gun start, the golfers enjoyed a pre-tournament reception. At the reception, the players snacked on juicy strawberries from DiMare Fresh, Inc., perfectly ripened bananas from Hazzouri Brothers & Co., Inc. Banana Distributors, crispy potato chips from UTZ Quality Foods, Inc., and ice cold water courtesy of Dunmore Oil.

Following a welcome from Mother Maureen and tournament co-chairman Gene Cosgrove, Father E. Francis Kelly, chaplain of Holy Family Residence, offered a prayer for the golfers as well as the individuals and businesses that supported the tournament. After Father’s prayer, Patrick Salmon Jr. kicked off the tournament with a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” on the bagpipes.

As the golfers hit the links, they enjoyed the various challenges of the course, but nothing was more of a test of skill than trying to hit a hole-in-one on the second hole – and with good reason – if you did you won a brand new car! While nobody sunk that precious shot to win the car from Matt Burne Honda, two people came within feet of the pin.

After four hours of play, the golfers and volunteers enjoyed a nice dinner together. Following dinner, Mother and Mr. Cosgrove presented the tournament and raffle winners with their prizes as well as our honorees with a St. Jeanne Jugan medallion.

It really was a great day for all of us, and it was made even better with the leadership of our tournament co-chairmen Patrick J. Sheridan, Gene Cosgrove, Chris James, and Bob Blaker as well as our dedicated committee members: Debbi Bean, Joan Blaker, Lisa Blaker, Charlie Cascio, Jim Conaboy, Kevin Conaboy, Theresa Durkin, Joyce Gaylets, Tracy Genell, Bill and Kathy Hughes, Ann Kwak, Charlie Butler, Pat Salmon, Kim Simchak, Janet Skibinski, Tim Speicher, and David Tressler.

We would also like to give a special acknowledgement to WNEP TV-16, their sports director and anchor Jim Coles, and meteorologist Kurt Aaron for all of the wonderful publicity they provided about the tournament and for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share the day with us.

To download and view our program from the event please click here. The program lists the sponsors, prize donors, and benefactors whose generosity helped make this event possible.

To view a slide show of photos from this event, please click here.



Tea, Cookies, and Making Memories with our Mothers

When we reflect on our childhoods, we remember many things. Perhaps you remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels; maybe you recall a favorite family vacation; or perhaps it was the time when you brought home a perfect report card. Whichever warm memories come to mind, there’s a good chance your mother was part of those moments.


On May 12, the family members and friends of many of our Residents joined together to make more warm memories at our annual Mother-Daughter Tea.


Beginning at 3 p.m., our Residents and their family members were escorted into our dining room. Upon their arrival, the ladies were greeted by members of our Association Jeanne Jugan. Carrying silver platters filled with a tasty assortment of homemade cookies, muffins, and mini-cheesecakes, the Association members provided our guests with an assortment of goodies to fill their sweet tooths. And of course a Mother’s Day Tea would not be complete without freshly brewed hot tea. Served piping hot in decorative teapots, all of the ladies commented that our spot of tea really hit their spot.


It really was a beautiful day for our Residents, their daughters, and those who are mothers in their heart.


Click here to view a photo slideshow from this event!


We welcome 11 new AJJ members!

We welcomed 11 new members to our Association Jeanne Jugan (AJJ) here in Scranton. The AJJ, named in honor of our Foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, serves as a lay apostolate that shares in the spiritual riches of the Little Sisters by participating in their mission of hospitality to the elderly poor.

Following a one-year formation program, members help to spread the spirit of St. Jeanne Jugan by developing a lively faith and confidence in Divine Providence, a personal love for Jesus recognized in the aged poor, and a spirit of praise. The AJJ serve as an extension of the Little Sisters’ work by participating in the pastoral, recreational, and cultural activities in their home.





Celebrating March’s Other Saint

While March is a popular month to celebrate St. Patrick, did you know it also hosts the feast day of St. Joseph? St. Joseph is especially important to the Little Sisters not only because he is the patron of the universal church but also because he is the protector of the Sisters’ congregation.

In thanksgiving of St. Joseph’s eternal goodness to us, we invited the Most Rev. James C. Timlin, D.D., bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Scranton, and numerous diocesan priests to concelebrate Mass in our chapel at 11 a.m. on March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph.

This Mass was truly special. Not only did Bishop Timlin provide a beautiful tribute to St. Joseph in his homily, but we also enjoyed participating in a Mass concelebrated by so many of our priestly friends many of whom had parents live in our Home.

Following the Mass, Bishop Timlin and the priests served lunch and visited our Residents. The Residents really loved this – it’s not every day that you get to have a personal conversation with a bishop! But anyone who knows Bishop Timlin knows that he is a wonderful conversationalist and can really make even short times spent together special. This element of his personality really shines through in the slide show photos which you can access at the end of this entry.

Once the Residents finished lunch, the bishop, priests, and members of our Association Jeanne Jugan enjoyed lunch and conversation.

To view a slide show of photos from this event, please click here.



Scranton’s Smiling Irish Eyes

Our Residents’ Irish eyes were certainly smiling on March 17 as we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day! Complete with live Irish music, step dancing, and scones, you’d swear we were in a Dublin pub – not our very own Holy Family Residence.
Upon entering our auditorium adorned with shamrocks, every Resident was welcomed with a fresh green carnation corsage or boutonniere courtesy of the Shamrock Heart Foundation as well as live music courtesy of Kevin Campion. Kevin, who is the husband of Kathy Campion, Holy Family’s human resources director, strummed a range of mellow melodies and traditional Irish favorites while everyone enjoyed shamrock shaped sugar cookies, scones, and lemonade.
As the festivities continued, many of the Residents enjoyed an impromptu Irish step dancing performance by Heather, one of our volunteers from Marywood University, as well as participating in a sing-a-long to the Irish anthem: “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”
As you can tell, March 17 certainly was a great day for the Irish AND Holy Family Residence!

To view a slide show of photos from this event, please click here.




Rockin’ at Holy Family Residence

If you were in Scranton on March 4, you may have felt the ground shake because our Home was really rockin’ – from rocking chairs that is.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, approximately 100 people participated in our Home’s annual Rock-A-Thon. The Rock-A-Thon, which is a fundraiser where children from local schools and youth groups as well as Residents’ family members form teams and garner donations with the goal of their team raising the most funds for the Residents.

Upon their arrival at the Home, the teams gave their donations to the Sisters and then quickly moved to our auditorium to begin decorating their rocking chairs. Some of the school teams adorned their chairs in their school colors while other teams gave their chairs a more “angelic” look. (Take a peek at the photos in the slide show, and you’ll see what we mean.) Regardless of the color or style, all 12 looked great, but only one could receive the coveted “Best Chair” award at the end of the day.

Once the chairs were decorated, the next phase began … rocking! And boy did we rock! The teams not only rocked in the chairs, but also rocked the dance floor! The excitement amongst the crowd was so exuberant that the kids led the Residents out on the dance floor to join in the fun too! Between all of the rocking and dancing as well as karaoke, everybody needed a short rest. But lucky for us, the juggling troupe from St. Gregory’s Academy entertained us with their amazing skills while we caught our breath. Following the jugglers’ performance, the rocking once again kicked into high gear and continued until 4 p.m.

At the conclusion of the rocking, Mother Maureen awarded the first, second, and third prizes to the teams who raised the most funds as well as to the team with the most creatively decorated rocking chair. All of the winning teams received trophies as well as prize bags filled with movie passes, gift certificates to local restaurants, and candy.

We extend our thanks to the following individuals and businesses for providing prizes for the winning teams as well as for our basket raffle at this event: Arcaro and Genell’s, Jim and Mary Lou Burne, Cinemark 20 and XD, The Dough Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Grande Pizza, Grotto Pizza, Ann Kachuk, Mary Kane, Pete and Marycarol Kanton, Katrina’s Pizza & Hoagies, King’s College, Krispy Kreme, Marquee Cinemas, Marywood University, McDonald’s, Mercury 1-Hour Cleaners, Pehr’s Pizza, Rodano’s Pizza, Roseanna’s Pizza, Ed and Barbara Scacchitti, Schiff’s, Sno Mountain/Sno Cove, Sonic, South Side Bowl, The University of Scranton, Viewmont Mall, and Wilkes-Barre Movies 14.


Rock with us!. Click here to view photos from this event.



Bourbon Street Comes to Scranton!

The 2012 Mardi Gras may have started in the French Quarter, but the party certainly wound its way north to Scranton on February 21. In keeping with the popular traditions of this pre-Lenten celebration, our Little Sisters and Residents kicked off Holy Family Residence’s very own Mardi Gras celebration in true New Orleans’ style with a parade.

Orchestrating a theme parade, Residents and employees formed groups and dressed in costumes representing their favorite holidays. As you will see in the photo slide show, we got very creative! Just as our very own “saints” marched into our auditorium to “When The Saints Go Marching In”, they were happily surprised to see it had been transformed into our very own version of Bourbon Street. Accented with purple, green, and gold balloon centerpieces at each table and silhouettes of jazz bands and jambalaya stands adorning the walls throughout the room, our Residents were certainly pleased with the decor.

As each Resident group processed into the room, they presented gifts to King Bill and Queen Clare. Bill and Clare, Residents from our second and third floors, were elected by our very own employees to reign over the Mardi Gras festivities.
Following the parade, everyone enjoyed the finest baked goods Mardi Gras has to offer including a King Cake and other refreshments while listening to live entertainment by Greg Palmer. It really was a great day at Holy Family Residence!


For a photo slideshow from this fun event click here!




Little Sisters Spearhead Local Pro-Life Events

The temperature was cold; the ground was wet; but our hearts were warm; and our spirits rejoiced as nearly 100 people gathered together Friday, Jan. 20 for our annual March for Life on the campus of neighboring Marywood University, Scranton. During this kick-off event for our Pro-Life Weekend, we were joined by students from Marywood; Residents and staff from St. Joseph’s Center, Scranton; and a host of other organizations united by one mission – to promote life.
Following a welcome message from Mother Maureen and a prayer by Marywood Chaplain Father Brian Van Fossen, our spirited group of children and adults processed and prayed the rosary as we traveled the mile long route from the university’s campus to our Home. Upon arriving at Holy Family Residence, we continued to pray for the protection of life at a special Mass celebrated by our Chaplain Father E. Francis Kelly. Following the Mass, everyone enjoyed a light supper and refreshments.
As we continued our special weekend of Pro-Life events, the Little Sisters were very pleased to host the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The image, which is synonymous with the Pro-Life movement and has been traveling throughout the United States since 1991, was available for the public to view and venerate Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in our chapel.
It really was so moving to share this weekend not only with our Residents and staff but also with Northeastern Pennsylvania. Knowing that so many people joined their prayers with ours to protect life meant a great deal to us. God bless you!

To view photos from our Pro-Life Weekend, please CLICK HERE.





Jesus’ Love - the spirit above all spirits!

The Christmas spirit was certainly alive and well at Holy Family Residence. Throughout the days leading up to the holiday, our Home was filled with a flurry of activity. Although the Residents, Little Sisters, and staff had many tasks to complete such as baking cookies for friends, addressing Christmas cards, and decorating the Home, they really embraced the time they spent working together and enjoyed the family spirit that makes Holy Family Residence a Home.

While I’m sure you will agree getting everything ready for Christmas is quite an undertaking, I am equally certain you will agree you have to make time to have fun too while you’re doing it. And here at Holy Family Residence, we certainly did! Whether it was watching Christmas movies, enjoying visits from St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, Christmas shopping, or traveling throughout Scranton to see the beautiful displays of Christmas lights adorning so many homes, these activities certainly swept in the holiday spirit.

While all of the preparation and parties were certainly enjoyable, we all agreed the pinnacle of the season was celebrating the Feast of Christmas! Surrounded by family and friends, the Little Sisters and Residents welcomed the birth of our Savior at a very heartwarming Mass on Christmas morning. Focusing our minds and hearts on the true reason for this season filled our Home with the spirit above all spirits – Jesus’ love!


To see a slide show which captures the many special moments we enjoyed throughout the Advent and Christmas season,
please click here.



Christmas Cookie Baking with the Residents and Little Sisters

When we think of Christmas, we often think of the traditions we have shared with our families throughout the years. Whether it’s writing Christmas cards the first week of December, decorating our Christmas tree the second Sunday of Advent, or putting the finishing touches on Christmas gift wrapping just before Christmas Eve, all families embrace tradition. And one of the nicest traditions that some families share at Christmas is baking cookies.

Just as many of your kitchen counters are most likely sprinkled with flour, sugar, and cookie dough, we too have been busy making these annual treats. Whether they were stars, trees, bells, or elves, each cookie was not only sprinkled with sugar, but also formed with love.


Photo, above: Mother Maureen and Stella work together to make angel shaped cookies.

Photo, left: Sister Judith rolls more cookie dough as Ann, Sister Joseph Mary, Pauline, and Sister Gerard Marie start cutting out the next dozen of cookies.








St Nicholas Party

Things certainly have been busy here at Holy Family Residence. We have had many activities take place for our Residents, families, and friends and have even more planned as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth!

To start the season, our Residents enjoyed our annual St. Nicholas Day party on Sunday, Dec. 4 in Maloney Lounge. At the party, our Residents enjoyed celebrating this special day not only with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but also with the families of our employees.

As the party began, Resident Kay Gallagher captured the hearts of the nearly 50 children in attendance as she read the spirited story of St. Nicholas. As the children listened intently to Kay, they were happy to learn so many interesting things about this Saint, and they were even happier when St. Nicholas arrived! Portrayed by Father E. Francis Kelly, chaplain of Holy Family Residence, St. Nicholas visited the children, took photos with them, and gave each of them a present. Once the children finished their visit, they enjoyed a light supper with their families. As everyone snacked on a buffet of hot dogs, potato chips, Christmas cookies, fruit punch, and hot chocolate, Sister Joseph and Sister Judith provided an impromptu performance of Christmas carols for the crowd.

After supper, the children returned to the Maloney Lounge and happily discovered that St. Nicholas had left each of them a bag of “gold” (chocolate) coins in their shoe just as he did for the three young girls the children learned about in the story. Our St. Nicholas party really was a great success that united generations of families to celebrate this great ethnic feast day!


To view a slideshow a photos from this event, please click here.




A Beautiful Day in Honor of St Jeanne Jugan

When visitors walk into Holy Family Residence, many of them remark that it is a special place. Some may say it’s beautifully decorated, others remark that the staff is attentive and caring toward the Residents. And while this is all true, the core of what makes Holy Family Residence a home, is love. And that love permeates from every Little Sister of the Poor who serves here out of the love she has for Jesus.


On Tuesday, Aug. 30, that very love was celebrated in a very special way as Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera celebrated the Mass for the Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan with the Little Sisters, Residents, friends, and staff in the chapel of Holy Family Residence.


Speaking to a capacity crowd in the chapel, Bishop Bambera spoke of the teachings Jesus gave to us in the Beatitudes and how Jeanne lived those throughout her life. His simple, yet prophetic words paid tribute to the simple yet fulfilling life St. Jeanne Jugan offers to the Little Sisters to this day.


Following the Mass, the Bishop, Residents, friends, and staff enjoyed a home cooked luncheon, as well as live entertainment provided by Tom Rogo. Later in the day, the Residents continued their celebration with a polka party with entertainment provided by the Polka Jaxs.


It was a beautiful day filled with love as we celebrated the life of our patroness.





Top: Association Jeanne Jugan member Eleanor Scalese and Resident Catherine Gallagher greet Bishop Joseph C. Bambera following a Mass.


Middle: Sr. Marie Therese serves Pavilion Resident Pauline Bolock (right) and a friend.


Bottom: Pavilion Residents Mary O’Rourke and Madge Hudacko demonstrate their polka dancing skills while Resident Eugene Matkosky keeps the beat.



















Celebrating the Feast of St Ann

For many of the Residents who live at Holy Family Residence, St. Ann is very special. Many of the ladies who reside here were named in her honor, and many of them have been privileged to share in some of the same experiences she enjoyed in life, including being a mother and grandmother. While many of our Residents take great joy in sharing these characteristics with St. Ann, they find even greater joy in their special devotion to her. And that devotion is seen on an even deeper level each July during the solemn novena to St. Ann.

Throughout the lifetime of many of our Residents, the Passionist priests and brothers at St. Ann’s Shrine Basilica in Scranton have prayed this special novena with residents of the Greater Scranton area and beyond. What started with a small group of people in 1924, has grown into an annual event for thousands of pilgrims every summer from July 17-26.

Since attending this event, referred to by locals as “going to the novena,” was a big part of many of our Residents’ lives, we wanted to continue celebrating St. Ann’s spirit with the Residents. And on Tuesday, July 26, the feast day of St. Ann, our Residents not only celebrated her spirit, but they also enjoyed many special activities including “going to the novena” at the basilica!

Just a few of the activities they enjoyed at our home included
•    praying the novena prayer to St. Ann at Mass,
•    feasting on a feast day ice cream cake after lunch,
•    and enjoying the statue and photo of St. Ann in our home.

But the culmination of the day was the trip to the basilica. While the Residents were there, they truly enjoyed spending time in prayer and thanksgiving at a Pontifical Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., Bishop of the diocese of Scranton. Amazed at the faithfulness of the full to capacity crowd at the Mass, Mother Maureen summed up the entire experience is one simple yet telling sentence, “The Church is very much alive in Scranton.”

To read the article about St. Ann’s Novena in The (Scranton) Times-Tribune and to see photos of two of our Little Sisters whose pictures accompanied the story, please click here.

# # #
Photo: Residents and staff take time to discuss St. Ann – a favorite saint for many of our Residents.



Little Sisters Host residents' Day Carnival

Annual Event Serves as an Opportunity for Residents, Sisters, Employees and their Families to Gather for an Afternoon of Fun and Fellowship

On Thursday, July 14, the Little Sisters hosted our annual Residents’ Day at Holy Family Residence. The activities for the day began with a Mass for our Residents and their special intentions. Following the Mass, our Residents were treated to lunch and a carnival in the new pavilion area at our home.

Just a few of the carnival activities included an employee dunk tank, games, treats, and a magic show performed by Father John C. Ruth of St. John Neumann Parish, Scranton. The carnival provided our Residents with an opportunity to enjoy a pleasant afternoon of fun and fellowship.



















“A Great Day on the Links: LSP Fifth Annual Golf Tournament A Great Success!”


Despite overcast skies and a brief sun shower, nothing could dampen the spirits of the nearly 100 golfers who hit the links June 11 for our Residents and to honor local funeral director Vince Vanston at the Scranton Municipal Golf Course.

But before the shot-gun start at 1:30 p.m., the golfers built up their strength by snacking on fresh fruit courtesy of DiMare Fresh, Inc. and Hazzouri Brothers & Co., Inc. Banana Distributors, both of Scranton.

Following a welcome from Mother Maureen, l.s.p. and golf tournament co-chairperson Pat Sheridan, Father Francis E. Kelly, chaplain of Holy Family Residence, offered a prayer for the golfers as well as the individuals and businesses that supported the tournament.

Following their four and half hours of play, which included a chance to win a brand new car from Burne Honda, the golfers and volunteers enjoyed a nice dinner together. After dinner, Mother and Mr. Sheridan presented the tournament and raffle winners with their prizes.

It was a great day for all of us, and we have already started planning next year’s tournament!

To download and view our program from the event, which includes a special reflection from Mr. Vanston about his lifelong friendship with the Little Sisters, please click here. The program also lists the sponsors, prize donors, and benefactors whose generosity helped make this event possible.

CLICK  HERE for our tournament photo album.




Rockathon a Great Success!

by Maria J. Santomauro, Development Director

Despite unpredictable weather conditions, hundreds turned out in support of Rockathon on February 5. Residents and Little Sisters, several area schools and parish youth

groups, staff and volunteers, all formed “Rocking” teams to come into Holy Family Residence and Rock from Noon until 4 pm. All participants enjoyed live entertainment, refreshments, raffles and prizes.

Scranton Prep’s team led by sophomore Olga Opshinsky, Dalton, was awarded the Team Spirit Award which was given out for the most uniquely decorated Rocking Chair. Judging this event was Promotions and Marketing Director from WNEP-TV, Laurie LaMaster. Prep also took First Place for the Team with most pledges. Second Place went to Team #4 from St. Paul’s, led by Virginia Farrell of Scranton.

Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers was the Corporate Sponsor of this event and donated 10% of the sales from 5 different locations. They were Davis Street and Wyoming Avenue both of Scranton; O’Neil Highway, Dunmore; Viewmont Drive, Dickson City and Rt 6 & 11, Clarks Summit. Prospector from Rock 107’s morning show was on-hand doing live breaks from the Wyoming Avenue location from Noon until 2 pm.

Nearly $15,000 was raised by the end of Saturday. Donations are still coming in. The Little Sisters rely on such fund-raising initiatives as well as donations of in-kind commodities needed to care for the elderly residing at Holy Family.


Little Sisters of the Poor and Corporate Sponsor, Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers were Rocking at the Wyoming avenue location with the help of Rock 107.

From Left to Right:  Sr. Marie Therese, LSP; Prospector, Rock 107-morning show host; Sr. Marie Gertrude, LSP; Steve Kepic, President, QSF Restaurants-Wendy’s Franchisee.







Scranton Prep Team-Prep Sophies—Winners of First Place with most revenue and Team Spirit Award for Most Creative Chair—Left to Right :  Danny Marx (Math Teacher at Prep); Alec Metta (Prep); Niel MacDonald (Prep); Jimmy Fazzio (Abington)—rocked for Brian Blomain; Principal Patrick Marx (Prep); Molly Siebecker (Prep); Sydney Gedman (Prep); Olga Opshinsky (Prep); Megan Bershefsky (Prep); Kristen Davis (OLP)—rocked for Katherine Lord; Sr. Maureen, LSP; Seated – Kaitlyn Davis (Prep); Maddie Conway (Prep) *Katherine Lord and Brian Blomain were unable to attend but did collect money for the event.



Team #4 Saint Paul’s School—2nd Place Winners—Left to Right:  Monica Shaffern; Maggie Nealon; Melissa Berardelli; Nick Atherton-Ely; Mother Maureen.









Mother Maureen, caption of the A-Team cheers on team member, Resident, Fred Rindock.









Rockers of Ages—seated from left to right: Residents and family members—Nancy Mack; Nancy Warrick; Audrey Roche; Anne Valentine; Standing left to right: Dolores Warrick; Barb Weber;  Donna Solon; Carole Battaglia and Carol Cron.






Saint Nicholas Day at Holy Family Residence

by Maria J. Santomauro, Development Director

On Sunday December 5, Residents, staff, volunteers and their families all gathered together at Holy Family Residence in celebration of Saint Nicholas Day. It was a day to share in the story of Saint Nicholas and to experience timeless traditions still celebrated around the world today.

Click here for a photo slideshow from this event

Nearly 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our Residents and staff learned many worldwide customs, including placing one shoe in front of the fireplace, an  annual child-hood tradition that remains popular in many European countries and in parts of the United States.  This special day served as a reminder that Christmas is a time of family; a time of sharing and a time of hope.  It was also a reminder that the story of Santa Claus truly evolved from that of St. Nick!



Mother General Celine Visit to Holy Family Residence

by Maria J. Santomauro, Development Director

On Tuesday September 28, we welcomed our Head of the Congregation, Mother General Celine de la Visitation, while she toured the Brooklyn Province. Ours is one of 11 homes within this territory. She and her assistant Mother Patricia traveled all the way from France! We worked very hard preparing for the days that she would be here.


We were lucky to have the Colts Trolley as part of this momentous occasion. Volunteers, Dave and Joyce Tressler portrayed our home’s original founders, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Maloney. The deeply planted historical roots of our home, The Electric City of Scranton and the Little Sisters of the Poor were woven together and brought to light during her the course of her visit. This was a truly once-in-a lifetime experience.


Mother Celine very graciously greeted each and every one of our residents, staff members and volunteers. We were all truly honored and touched by her presence.


The next day, many festivities continued beginning with Mass Celebrated by Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton. He was assisted by several parish priests within the Scranton Diocese. A special luncheon was held in Mother Celine’s honor while she visited with each resident presenting them with a special gift.


We all then gathered in the auditorium for our version of the show, “This Little Light of Mine” performed by residents, staff members and volunteers. Mayor Chris Doherty and Lackawanna County Commissioner, Michael J. Washo, Chairman were also in the house to present Mother Celine with a proclamation and declared Wednesday September 29, 2010

Mother General Celine Day in the City of Scranton!


Mother Maureen joyfully expressed, “The visit of our Mother general was an historic event for all of us Little Sisters as well as for our Residents, Associate members, Employees, Volunteers and family members; all who make up the family of our Mother Foundress, St Jeanne Jugan and specifically to all of us here at Holy Family Residence.”


Sister Cornelia added, “The visit showed the beautiful spirit of the Home. Everybody worked together to make it all happen. For me personally, it confirmed me in my vocation to work in the spirit of St. Jeanne Jugan, to make the Residents happy, to give them love and hope on their final journey to the Father’s house.”




First Feast Day of Saint Jeanne Jugan

On August 30th, we celebrated for the first time the Feast Day of Saint Jeanne Jugan, honoring her as a saint. Last year’s canonization was such an emotional event that the memories of all those who participated are still very much alive. You can still view some pictures and stories from the Rome travelers on our national website . Can you pick out the delegation from Scranton? There is a picture of them!

The day before, we gathered for a celebration of St. Jeanne Jugan’s life with readings of meditations on the few sayings that we have of her and we venerated her relic. 

For the Eucharistic Celebration at our Home, retired Bishop James C. Timlin presided in a beautifully decorated chapel. His inspiring homily retraced the importance of her work at the time when she lived and pointed out the necessity of her charism in our world today.

After Mass, all were invited to dinner in the auditorium, where the dietary staff had prepared a sumptuous meal, which the Residents very much enjoyed. It was good to see the family spirit of our Home, as Residents and employees ate together. This was, however, not the end. The Pavilion Residents had agreed to re-staged some of the scenes that they had depicted as a preparation for the other Residents (link to SC News August.pdf), this time on the “big” stage in the auditorium! Though the script needed some revisions and the “original” Jeanne Jugan was not able to be there, the Residents did very well and everybody benefited from learning more about the Saint that has been called the Patron Saint of Old Age. 

Let us confide to her intercession all the elderly of the world , especially those who are neglected and alone:

Jesus, you rejoiced and praised your Father for having revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. We thank you for the graces granted to your humble servant, Jeanne Jugan, to whom we confide our petitions and needs. (pause to voice your personal needs and intentions) Father of the poor, you have never refused the prayer of the lowly. We ask you, therefore, to hear the petitions that she presents to you on our behalf. Jesus, through Mary, your Mother and ours, we ask this of you, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.


















Dog Days of Summer

In the middle of summer when it’s hot, nobody really wants to do much. Well, that would not do for the Residents of Holy Family Residence! Outside the sun might be scorching hot, but the air conditioning was working fine in the auditorium where employees and family members had been invited to bring their canine friends for a dog show. Let the pictures speak for themselves… (click here for photo PDF)



A brand-new Little Sister comes to Scranton

On July 30th, we were delighted to welcome to Holy Family Residence a brand-new Little Sister who had made first vows only two weeks prior: Sr. Judith!  Here you can see a few pictures from her profession and a story on the internet about her.



And the Land of the Free…

July 4th was celebrated with appropriate fervor in a Flag-raising ceremony. Three veterans from the Scranton joined us in the ceremony, which included readings from the Inauguration Address of President Lincoln, and of course, patriotic songs and music. The veterans also gave us a new flag that had just been flown over the U.S. Capitol.

After hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob, the afternoon brought a wonderful party.  The Residents and employees gathered in the auditorium to enjoy some good music and refreshments.  Some even had the courage to dance! May God’s Light always shine on our country!

A Great Success

Our 4th Annual Golf Tournament on June 12, 2010, was a great success, not only because of the beautiful weather, despite a threatening morning.  So many helping hands made this Golf Tournament memorable.  For such an event, preparations begin early, prizes were solicited, put into baskets and wrapped, players sought and found, and so many little details to make everything fall into place on the actual date.

The Scranton Municipal Golf Course was a simple and beautiful venue for the occasion, healthy snacks and lots of water provided everybody with the necessary provisions and we Sisters circled the Golf Course to offer encouragement and prayers to players.  The teams were tightly grouped on the top, though many admitted to just come for the fun.  At the meal together, the last raffle drawings and, of course, the winners of the different team events were announced and brought many smiles and applause.

We were very much honored by the presence of Dr. Thomas Clauss, his large family had four-somes playing.  He had for many years provided medical care to our Residents and sisters and his family has always been great friends of the Home.  What a joy for the son of Dr. Thomas Clauss to present a check of over $22,000 to Mother Maureen which will be put to good use at Holy Family Residence.




We are loved by God

This affirmation was the red thread throughout the Resident’s retreat which lasted three days from June 7th to the 9th.  The Residents appreciated the down-to-earth, spiced with stories, instructions of Father Vincent Boney, C.P. from the Passionist-Basilica of St. Ann in Scranton, PA.  Easily approachable, the Residents took advantage of an evening of questions and answers to learn more about “How to Live in Community.”  How fitting, because, even though the Residents do not officially live in “a” community, they do form a community with each other, and St. Jeanne Jugan would have been pleased to know that the Residents strive to love one another more, which is, of course, a way of showing that they love God, as Father repeatedly pointed out.

On Wednesday, the Residents received the Sacrament of the Anointing, a special moment which we Sisters try to facilitate about twice a year. This Sacrament, which used to be called “Last Rites” is really a Sacrament of Healing, and many a times, if it does not bring about physical healing, it has fostered a greater spiritual awareness in a Resident.

Talking about the Gospel of John, chapter 17, verse 24, Father explained that we are a gift to God, we are a gift to ourselves and we are a gift to each other.  Now it is up to us to live the graces received during this retreat.





Jeanne Jugan - The Hidden Heart

After Rome and the Lincoln Center, SCRANTON!  This is the itinerary of a wonderful chorale from New York City that came to bring us the life and legacy of St. Jeanne Jugan.  Glenn Mohr had graciously agreed to bring his chorale and perform the musical drama on St. Jeanne Jugan at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.

They had performed it last November at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall after participating in the canonization ceremonies for St. Jeanne Jugan in October 2009.  Their chorale has a long history of relations with the Little Sisters in New York, and Glenn Mohr has been a gracious friend for many years.

For a while we were worried that the Cathedral might be a little too ambitious for our beloved Scranton, but we were pleasantly surprised as the Cathedral began to fill up.  We were honored with the presence of Bishop Bambera (and mother) and Bishop Emeritus Timlin, and everybody agreed that it was, despite some technical difficulties, a true spiritual and artistic treasure, celebrating God’s abounding grace in so humble a woman as Jeanne Jugan, who would never wanted to be counted among the saints and who was very upset when they tried, in her lifetime, to name a street after her!

After the presentation, we all went for a reception at the formerly Holy Cross High School across the street, and we were happy to share our impressions and give our praise to the performers.

The next morning, for Sunday Mass, the chorale came to the Home, where the Residents, some of whom had not been able to come the night before, enjoyed their beautiful voices during our Sunday Liturgy. Truly, it was both inspiring and uplifting!






We have a new Shepherd!

Everybody in Scranton had a story to tell when Cardinal Justin Rigali, at the time Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Scranton, announced the new bishop: Joseph C. Bambera. He grew up in Carbondale, PA, and has been a member of the clergy of Scranton all his priestly life.  So it was not surprising that even some of the residents offered stories about Bishop Bambera when he was growing up!

The religious were invited to a Solemn Evening Prayer, which we attended, and which beautifully reunited the clergy and religious of the Diocese in prayer and praise to God. The next day, the Episcopal Ordination of Joseph C. Bambera took place in St. Peter’s Cathedral.  It was a memorable day for one of our Residents, Msgr. George DeMuth. He had been Bishop Bambera’s first pastor, and Bishop Bambera was kind enough to invite Monsignor to take part in the ordination ceremonies.

During the reception after the ceremonies, some of us were fortunate enough to exchange a few words with the new Bishop and to assure him of the prayers of the whole Holy Family community.  A little more than a month earlier, he had been to our Home for the celebration of St. Joseph’s Day, and his easy approach had been the delight of the Residents.  Now our prayers continue for his task as shepherd of the Church of Scranton, following his motto: “Walk Humbly With Your God.”