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