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1aCommunity Minister Sr. Paula Huecke
2a Magnificat Community activity room

In 2012 after many thoughtful considerations and discussions, Sister Joanne Schuster met with Sister Paula Huecker to discuss the long standing practice of sending SFPs to Mercy Franciscan Terrace for care and treatment. After speaking to Sister Ann Cecile Albers, Sister Joanne asked the Sisters at St. Clare what they thought – and they were happy and delighted at the possibility that the Sisters might come home. Many offered their own rooms for the Sisters’ use if needed.

Sister Joanne then went to the Terrace to ask the Sisters what they thought about this possibility. The Sisters all said that they wanted to come home to St. Clare Convent soon  -- even that very day.  However, many things had to be accomplished first.

Sister Joanne tthen informed the administration at the Terrace and began planning the move. One of the first people she consulted was Associate Anne Cabanas RN, who is a clinical consultant with 25 years of experience working in Long Term Care (LTC). Anne said, “This is a gift from God!” and started making a list of nurses, certified nursing assistants (CAN’s), and others who would help to make this transition possible. Anne and Sisters Paula and Joanne shared the same vision: St. Clare Convent was and will be the Sisters’ home – and their job was to make it possible for them to come home! This proved to be providential. The Mercy Health System had already decided that they no longer would offer Long Term Care at the Mercy Franciscan Terrace.  The building will be torn down in the summer of 2013.

According to Anne, “In some ways, there was not as much to be done as one might think. For example, while we put on a fresh coat of paint in all the rooms, the bathrooms were already handicapped accessible, so we did not have to change them at all. We did buy hospital beds, a patient lift and various supply items. We are also fortunate to have a laundry on the floor, and a kitchen – and some lovely, big rooms for activities – and beyond question we had the most space for storing laundry and supplies that I have ever seen! But in other ways, there was much work to be done.”

3aAnne Cabanas, RN with Sr. Daniel Marie Meade
4a Anne Cabanas at work

Ludmilla Gracanin, MD, who already cared  for the Sisters, was contacted and she agreed to care for all of the Sisters. Then MedLabs was contacted to make arrangements for performing any lab tests the Sisters may need. A podiatrist was also contacted, who is willing to come to St. Clare Convent.  MedLabs and the podiatrist will come to St. Clare to offer services for all the Sisters – whether or not they are members of Magnifcat Community.

The right people were selected to provide ‘in home’ care: RNs, LPNs and certified nursing assistants. People are needed around the clock since at least three of the Sisters require full-time care. The other three Sisters only need assisted care. In fact, the Sisters often interact with the Sisters of St. Clare Community and share meals with them in the dining room and attend Mass in the Chapel.

It is wonderful that we can tailor-make their care! This is not a facility, yet arrangements have been made to see  that they receive all the needed medical and nursing care. Sister Arlene McGowan gave staff an orientation, Sister Christine Edwards provides pastoral care, Sister Norma Meyer RN, will help as needed and Annette Newman will be a nursing assistant and activities director. Associate Lori Hindersman,LPN ,works evenings and Carolyn Kroczyk,CAN, will work nights.

On March 10 the five Sisters who were living at the Terrace  -  Sister Daniel Marie Meade, Sister Mary Immaculate Mendoza, Sister Judy Nagy, Sister Loretta Mick – were welcomed back. Sister Ann Regina Raterman.  Sister Coletta Chalk will soon join them. On March 13th the Magnificat Community had an Open House and invited all to come and rejoice with them…and  Father Collins blessed their new Community on March 14.

The Sisters’ rooms are light and airy, and considerably larger than their former ones. Those who are able to do so join the Sisters of St. Clare Convent Community at meals. Those who cannot do so will dine in their rooms on the third floor.

When Sister Loretta Mick heard that she was going to St. Clare Convent, she said, “Thank you, God!” Although she will be greatly missed, we are all grateful that Sister Loretta was able to die at home.

5aChecking out the supplies 7aSr. Mary Madonna created signs to welcome the Sisters and staff 6aSr. Maria and Sr. Ann Regina sharing a meal

The staff hired for the Magnificat Community are very happy to care for the Sisters. Here are some of their comments:

- “We can really take time with the Sisters.’
- “We are not rushed. “
- “We can do all the things we were taught to do. It is wonderful!”

Everyone is grateful that the Sisters are home again.

Associated Leah Curtin

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