Our many friends joyously gathered on Sunday, March 4th to celebrate and help raise money for St. Joseph’s Home, at the 18th Annual Amazing Grace Gala. The room at Stonegate Banquet Centre was beautifully decorated in lilac and deep purple as our guests perused the over 70 silent auction items. From a luxurious mink coat to a gas grill to Cubs, White Sox and Blackhawks tickets and jerseys, there was something for everyone.
Master of Ceremonies, Tony Stallone (VP, Peapod and last year’s St. Jeanne Jugan Award recipient) welcomed everyone and Bishop Andrew McDonald gave the invocation. A delicious dinner of filet mignon and bacon wrapped sea scallops was enjoyed by all.
It was our great honor to recognize Mr. Ron Caminiti as the 3rd recipient of the St. Jeanne Jugan Award. Ron is a dear friend of ours. He has been in the seafood business for 37 years and is owner of Rubino Seafood. In 1994, he first met the Little Sisters of the Poor at the wholesale market in Chicago, when the Little Sisters asked him for a donation of food. He gladly donated and still does each week, to both the Chicago and Palatine Homes.
A longtime resident of Palatine, he has volunteered at St. Joseph’s Home for several years. He now coordinates the Resident’s Happy Hour held every Sunday. He has long supplied all of our seafood needs for special Resident dinners, the Holiday Bazaar, and the Amazing Grace Gala. In addition, Ron has always generously donated the very popular Bulls or Blackhawk tickets for the St. Joseph Auxiliary Holiday Raffle.
After dinner it was time for our special guest speaker, Mr. Patrick McCaskey. Pat is a Chicago Bears board member and the Bears’ Senior Director of Special Projects. He is chairman of Sports Faith International which recognizes people in sports who lead exemplary lives. He is author of the books: “Bear with Me: A Family History of George Halas and the Chicago Bears” and “Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout.”
Pat spoke about growing up in his Irish Catholic family and with his famous late grandfather, George Halas who was the owner of the Chicago Bears. His anecdotal reminiscences were enjoyed by everyone, even the handful of Packer fans who somehow snuck in. Pat was accompanied by his lovely wife Gretchen, and his delightful mother, Virginia, along with Fr. Peter Armenio, Chaplain of the Bears.
Mr. Ron Bernardi, owner of Sunset Foods, joined the Amazing Grace family this year as our auctioneer. From the audience participation game of “Heads and Tails” through the excitement of the Live Auction, to the final donation appeal, Ron skillfully lead the festivities with enthusiasm and humor.
Perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the evening was the finale. Mother Provincial Maria Christine invited the sixteen Little Sisters of the Poor up on stage in an expression of gratitude. Mother pointed out the many countries and parts of the US that the Little Sisters came from. What a beautiful witness of their sacrifice and commitment to their mission.
It is God who is worked through everyone who attended the Gala and everyone who donated their time, talent and resources to make it a success! Thanks to you, we can continue to offer hospitality and loving care to our Residents.
Virginia McCaskey, owner of the Chicago Bears, Sr. Mary William, Mother Maria Christine and Sr. Therese Marie
Ron Caminiti, recipient of the St. Jeanne Jugan Award, with Mother Marguerite
Patrick McCaskey with Anna Swartz Resident Accounts at St. Joseph’s Home and Tony Stallone, Master of Ceremonies