(We are pleased to welcome three young women, Emma, Jenny and Courtney, in our “Spring into Service” Hospitality Program.* Emma shared her first impressions below.)
We gazed out the window with great excitement as we intently watched the activity that was happening at the front door of The Little Sisters of the Poor. Despite dark clouds, a crowd of Little Sisters had gathered there to welcome home their Mother Provincial and two other Sisters who had been away. I could sense the joy of their homecoming as the Sisters exchanged greetings. Before long we decided we couldn’t miss out on this delightful occasion so we scurried down the hall to join in on this wonderful occasion.
In reflecting, I can’t help but notice the correlations between that homecoming and the welcome that we received upon arriving with the Sisters two weeks ago. We are the “Spring into Service” Hospitality Interns and I couldn’t have imagined a more warm beginning to our own six weeks of service. Not only did each Sister introduce themselves and welcome us to their home with big smiles, but Residents and Staff members were also awaiting our arrival. Each person we passed in the hallway would smile and say hello. We were truly made to feel right at home. In fact, the welcome feeling never seems to fade.
As I’ve gotten to learn more about The Little Sisters of the Poor, their fourth vow of hospitality has become quite apparent. We’ve only been here two weeks but it feels like home. The Sisters have provided us with everything we need materially. What I find more meaningful though, is that the Sisters care deeply for us and our well-being. Whether we’re looking for more linens, an explanation of how to use the Christian Prayer book, or a better glimpse into their lives as Sisters, they lead us to our destination. And the beauty of it all is that we are visitors who are only living here for six weeks.
These Sisters pour out their whole lives in service to God by caring for the Residents in their home. The Sisters ensure that the Residents are comfortable not only by caring for their physical needs, but by walking alongside them on their journey of life. It is lovely to watch the Sisters interact with the Residents. They bend low to reach their eye-level. They speak words of love and assurance. They take interest in (and remember!) their personal stories: past, present and future. The Little Sisters are truly teaching us by example. I’ve never been in a home for the elderly in which the Residents were so happy. Here you can tell that everyone feels welcome. Each Resident, Staff member, Visitor, and Little Sister are all part of a family.
My prayer during the rest of our time here is that the Lord will give us the graces we need to mimic the hospitality displayed by the Sisters. Lord, may we put others before ourselves, be attentive to the needs of the Residents, and love through our actions by bending low and listening with our whole selves.
– Emma, Hospitality Intern