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Nursing Home Ministry - Why we volunteer.

Here are the testimonials from some of our volunteers and residents. 

"These visits are the highlight of my day."
- Nellie, a resident at Trinity Nursing Home

"I was just saying last week that I've heard a lot of people say, "I don't like nursing homes (or hospitals)."  Because of their dislike, they stay away, or think they could never be comfortable visiting, let alone enjoy it.  The truth is- nobody LOVES nursing homes (except maybe a chosen, gifted few.  They are full of old, sick people who are lonely or grieving or slowly sinking into dementia, and it is not usually  pleasant to be there.
We may think, just by looking, that very few individuals in a nursing home are "with it" enough to know we are even there, let alone carry on a meaningful conversation.  The gift of nursing home ministry is getting beyond those superficial assumptions, and getting beyond ourselves,  and seeing how terribly we are needed.  
We spend 10 minutes with an individual, which is nothing compared to what we do for ourselves on a daily basis.  For that individual, that 10 minutes may be the only time that day that someone looked him or her in the eyes, seeing Jesus there.  It may be the only time that week that someone had the time or cared enough to smile or pat their hand or give them a hug.  It may be the only time someone said, "my, your nails (or hair) look nice and you have such a lovely smile".  And what we get in return is the amazing part.  
An old gentleman who is most often dozing looks up, sees the Eucharist and takes off his hat to receive.  An old woman who talks nonsense most of the time, looks wide-eyed and says, "I got to go to Holy Communion". Sure, we often encounter vacant stares, incoherent mumbling, and heartbreaking disabilities that wrench our hearts enough to think "why do I do this?"  But, this ministry is not about  public recognition.   We are loved, appreciated and blessed by Christ who dwells within those old, broken bodies.  What could possibly be better?"
- Ruth, a volunteer

"Surprisingly, the elderly minister to is amazing how my problems, worries, "issues" and fears seem so minimal in the grand scheme of our short time on earth.  If you want to have a more intimate relationship with God serve someone in need...He will talk to you beyond your comprehension - if you're listening. 
Looking into their eyes and seeing the joy of receiving the Eucharist tells me something about standing firm in faith.  We have the greatest privilege and honour to give the Body of Christ to those who are made humble by life. To hear them be dissappointed that they can not attend mass but appreciate a volunteer bring Him to them is precious and good.
Finally, I would also add that reading the scripture and or praying with them makes me see God's love alive and actively giving peace and graces."

- Norma, a volunteer


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