On June 1st Jeanne Jugan Residence welcomed 12 energetic and dynamic young women “on mission.” Hand chosen by their high school for this “privileged” opportunity, the young women were prepared to bring the joy and love of Christ to our Residents.
The students are from St. Francis High School in Sacramento, California, “a Catholic diocesan college preparatory school dedicated to serving young women and their families who seek spiritual growth and academic excellence. They are committed to integrating faith into the learning process, promoting the gospel values of Jesus Christ, building community, and providing opportunities for worship. The school strives to help each student develop her gifts and talents to become a model of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness) through leadership and service.”
With these goals in mind the students spent three days with our Residents participating in a variety of activities and introducing Jeanne Jugan Residence to a beautiful group of “giving” young women ready to bring joy to others. Their program called “Service Immersion Trips” comes under the auspices of their campus ministry department and is described like this, “St. Francis High School Campus Ministry oversees a variety of service immersion trips which take place throughout California, the United States and the world. These trips provide students (and staff) the opportunity to see the needs of others who are in different circumstances, cultures and conditions and to respond accordingly in light of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. They provide opportunities for personal growth and a greater understanding of the meaning of Christian service, solidarity and charity. Those who attend come back to our school as leaders who recognize the importance of bringing the love and mercy of Christ not only to our local community, but also into the larger context of systemic justice. These students and staff are prepared through these experiences to help build what St. Pope John Paul II called “a civilization of love.” Service immersion trips are essential to instilling our mission of Faith, Service, Excellence and Service in our St. Francis High School community.”
The students exposed the Residents to their many talents and on the first day put on a Talent Show. They were pleasantly surprised at the elderly’s ability to quickly “guess” the charades answers towards the end of their program. The girls were happy to offer their help in the many different departments throughout the house which included the kitchen, laundry and Resident Activities.
This was the first time for many of the students to visit and work directly with the elderly in a Nursing Home. They were delighted to find the Residents interactive, interested and curious about their “school activities” and life in general at their age. They returned to California with a better understanding and appreciation of all the elderly have to offer our society and how visiting the elderly makes such a positive difference in their lives.