“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.