Over 450 guests joined Relevant Radio ‘A Closer Look’ host Sheila Liaugminas and Executive director Fr. Francis ‘Rocky’ Hoffman on Thursday, October 13, to honor the Little Sisters from St. Joseph’s Home and St. Mary’s Home (Chicago) at the 2016 Chicago Christ Brings Hope Award Dinner. The Christ Brings Hope Award is presented to an American Catholic who has worked with extraordinary dedication to bring the good news and hope of Christ to all souls. This person(s) exemplifies the virtue of charity, generosity, hope, apostolic zeal and love for the Truth. Past honorees include Francis Cardinal George, Bishop Robert Barron and Scott and Kimberly Hahn.
Upon receiving the award, Mother Provincial Maria Christine invited all the Little Sisters present to join her on stage. “We accept the award tonight in the name of our Mother Foundress St. Jeanne Jugan. We are humbled and realize that it is not about us. We would like to thank our elderly Residents who put flesh on this award and teach us by their lives that CHRIST BRINGS HOPE!” She then invited the Residents, who were able to attend, to stand. The audience responded with a rousing standing ovation!
Mother Maria Christine went on to tell the story of an elderly man who came to visit us recently. James was acquainted with our former Southside Home. James told us about how his uncle lost his barbershop during the Depression and died shortly after, leaving his aunt without means. For the next 20 years, his aunt tried to make ends meet but keep falling on hard times. After being mistreated in the boarding home in which she lived, James brought her into his home. His small home was already crowded and his aunt needed care that they were unable to give to her. He had heard that the Little Sisters had a nice place for the elderly to live. Desperate, he put his aunt in the car on New Year’s Day and drove to our Southside Home. Leaving his aunt in the back seat, he knocked on our door! The Mother Superior heard the sad story and asked James where his aunt was right now. He replied that she was in the car. Mother told James they would make room for her and to bring her in.
James, with tears in his eyes, told us that his aunt was transformed “when she died, she died a very happy woman who felt loved and esteemed.” But this is not the end of the story! James worked for Motorola and told his supervisor that he wanted to buy a television for the old ladies at the Home, because they didn’t have one. The president of the company heard what he was doing and called James to his office. After hearing about the work of the Little Sisters, the president exclaimed “we will send those old people our largest, finest television. And we will pay for it!”
After telling the story, James handed us a check for $10,000. It was the experience of love that he always remembered and wanted to pay back in his twilight years.
Mother Maria Christine explained that, “Dignity and the feeling that one is needed has a great purpose, especially among the elderly. With that, the temptation of physician assisted suicide or other forms of euthanasia do not become an option. We have to feel we belong, that we have a purpose in life”
Demonstrating the importance of dignity for the elderly, in lieu of centerpieces Relevant Radio had baskets in the center of each table. The baskets were symbolic of the begging basket of St. Jeanne Jugan and were filled with gift bags. Each bag was filled with personal care items for each Resident of St. Joseph’s Home and St. Mary’s Home.
What a wonderful surprise that our Residents had the next day, as Sr. Diane handed out the gift bags. Thank you Relevant Radio for your evangelization of Christ’s Hope to the world and for living out that Hope through your kindness to the Little Sisters and elderly Residents.