“Mrs. Kyle led the way,” Jeanette says of the Eucharistic Minister at St. Liborius who invited her to go with to Village Woods. “I watched her and I thought, ‘This is beautiful. I can do this.’”
Jeanette was no stranger to volunteer work. She had already worked with adolescents and young children at her church. And she was also not new to working with older adults, either. When Jeanette’s mother died suddenly, Jeanette soon became her father’s primary caregiver.
“I’m convinced God had a plan for my life,” Jeanette says. “I quit my job so I could be my dad’s full-time caregiver. It really changed me.”
In her younger days, Jeanette and her father did not always see eye-to-eye. “But as I cared for him, I grew to appreciate him and what he stood for,” she says. “I saw him in a new light. That time with him was really a gift.”
Jeanette thinks the time she spends getting to know the people of Village Woods is also a gift. “There’s inspiration, so much inspiration,” she says. “These residents are amazing people. I get my shot of B12 every time I visit.”
For Jeanette, bringing communion is only part of what her visits can do. “What they get is community, a communion with others,” she says. “They feel like they belong to St. Liborius.”
“You never know how a person will touch your life,” says St. Liborius member Jeanette.
She says this is especially important to those who no longer drive on their own, and who may not have the ability to leave every week for church. “When you become home-bound, things are difficult,” she says. “These people have been active members of their churches for their whole lives. The spiritual aspect of who everyone is can’t be ignored.”
Jeanette does more than simply bring communion from St. Liborius; she spends ample time getting to know as many Village Woods residents as she can.
Jeanette appreciates how Village Woods makes the spiritual aspect of the residents’ lives a priority. “The staff are encouraging and wonderful to work with,” she says. “It makes it easier to do more.”
Jeanette has done more, indeed. Beyond her scheduled visits for communion, she drops in and spends time getting to meet new people at Village Woods, and she’s become attached to those she gets to know. “Of course, I’ve had to say goodbye to some people,” she says. “You build a relationship, and it’s always hard to lose someone.”
But she feels it’s worth it. “You never know how a person will touch your life,” she says. “It’s a reminder that life is fragile, and a gift.”
Jeanette plans to continue her visits to Village Woods for as long as she can. “It’s always a good day there,” she says of the close-knit senior community. “It’s like home to me now.”
To volunteer at Village Woods or any of our Providence communities, click here, or go to www.VolunteerAtProvidence.com.