A Mass of Thanksgiving for 50 Years of Loving Care at St. Joseph’s Home was held on Saturday, August 27th. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, (son of Resident Eva Kicanas) Bishop of Tuscon, AZ, was the main celebrant with Bishop George J. Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago concelebrating, along with Fr. Ron Lewinski, Director of Parish Transformation of the Archdiocese of Chicago (Resident at St. Theresa Parish in Palatine), Fr. Charles Beierwaltes, C.S.s.R (brother of Resident Marilyn Bush), Fr. Joseph J. McLaughlin, Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Philadelphia (Mother Margaret Charles’ cousin), and Deacons John Connor (a retired employee) and Mark Duffey (of St. Thomas of Villanova Parish in Palatine).
An overflowing crowd spilled out of the Chapel as the Knight of Columbus led in the procession. Triumphant music, directed by our good friend, Scott Arkenberg, resonated throughout as we sang “Go Up to the Altar of God”. It was a breathtaking sight to see all the clergy around our altar to celebrate this momentous occasion.
In his homily, Bishop Kicanas’ spoke about a “Virtue” – humility, a “Woman” – St. Jeanne Jugan and a “Home” – this holy Home (that was once a farm). Many of our friends and benefactors carried up the bread and wine in the offertory procession.
After Mass, Mother Margaret Charles thanked everyone for their support over the years. She revealed that since the doors of St. Joseph’s Home opened in 1966, the Little Sisters have welcomed 1,966 elderly Residents – 518 men and 1,448 women. And, people stay here for a long time, we aren’t just a last short stop – but we are a good stop, a place where our elders can find peace and security, love and care. Is that an astonishing coincidence or an affirming God-incidence? Since everything that goes into keeping this Home, and our Residents, healthy and happy comes through His grace, we tend to think that it is God’s affirming sense of humor.
She went on to say that in the chapel today, are the people who truly make up the heart of our Home – our elderly Residents. Without them there would be no celebration. She asked that as we celebrate this anniversary, that we recognize and applaud our Residents, for their spirit and spunk, their wisdom and faith, we sincerely thank them. A thunderous applause followed, for our Residents.
Outside the Chapel was a pictorial display of pictures from when the Home opened in 1966. Thanks to Mr. David Hammond from the Palatine Historical Society, there was also a collection of newspaper articles from the Daily Herald giving a historical reference of the beginning.
After Mass, we went to the auditorium for delicious food and fellowship. Along with the beautifully gold decorated tables inside the outside doors opened to the back courtyard. Tables were set up under the trees. Sparkling lights decorating the branches, and tiki torches around the perimeter lit up the area.
St. Jeanne Jugan confidence in God’s Providence was absolute. “Give us the house,” she often said. “If God fills it, God will not abandon it.” We are eternally grateful for God’s blessings to us and to you, our dear friends, who through your kindness and generosity has manifested God’s love for us and allowed us to celebrate this 50th Anniversary milestone.