Twinkling lights sparkle on the Christmas tree in the lobby. The harmonious sounds of carolers have been resonating through the halls. The sweet aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, escape from the kitchen, teasing our taste buds. Thanks to the kindness of many of our friends who sponsored food drives for us, our stomachs have been filled with the delicious foods of the season. It’s no doubt that the Christmas Season is here!
We believe that the timeless magic of Christmas can touch us at any age. It is often said that Christmas is for children, but we find that we are all children at heart. With that spirit, we have come together as a family to celebrate.
One of our favorite Christmas traditions is our Christmas Gala Dinner. This year it was held on December 21st. Dressed in our best Christmas attire, we waited patiently in the hall outside the dining room. The doors were locked and covered. No one could see what awaited us inside. Five o’clock finally arrived and the doors were opened to a magnificent Christmas tree decorated with ornaments that contained photographs of Residents who have lived here over the past 50 years. This festive dinner marked the beginning of our 2016 yearlong celebration of 50 Years of Mercy at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine and 140 years since the Little Sisters arrived in the Chicago area. In honor of this golden anniversary, the tables were splendidly decorated with gold napkins and plates.
Each of our guests was escorted to their table by a volunteer or staff member. Once seated, our famous volunteer staff began taking orders for wine or whatever else was desired. After everyone was seated and enjoying a sip of good cheer, the appetizers were served. We had delicious choices of shrimp cocktail, pâté on toast and/or festive pinwheels with cream cheese, cranberries and walnuts. While we munched on our appetizers, a strolling violinist took requests and played our favorite Christmas tunes. Next we enjoyed a wonderful salad and then the main course. We had a choice between lamb chops or pork tenderloin. How do you decide? The merriment continued and several tables were singing along with the violinist. The dinner ended with a delicious bread pudding and more singing!
The food was fabulous thanks to our wonderful volunteer chefs Andy Webber and Tony Stallone (and their families). They are so generous to share their expert culinary skills by preparing a 5 Star dinner. They truly make this evening very special for us. God Bless them.
Filled with good food, good cheer and looking forward to a good night sleep, we slowly started to return to our rooms. However, Mother Provincial Maria Christine wouldn’t let us leave empty handed. She presented each of us with a beautiful Pope Francis coffee mug filled to the brim with goodies.
As we begin the commemoration of our 50 years, we realize that the good times and treasures we are living today will soon become our golden memories of tomorrow. While we rejoice and celebrate God’s great gift to us, we also reflect on the beautiful gift of our friends who support us. Without your help we could not create these wonderful memories. How thankful and blessed we are for you! It is our prayerful wish that God will grant you and your loved ones a blessed and joyful Christmas Season and a New Year (of Mercy) overflowing with His love.