by Barb Quaintance
The holidays are a magical time at Misericordia. The decorations, the music, the sweet smells coming from the bakery, the holiday brunches, the excited residents. A very important part of making the magic happen are the volunteers who give their time and talent to Misericordia.
Did you know…
by Linda Buchalo
There are many times that I truly appreciate Misericordia, but Saturday Mass is one occasion when I always feel grateful that my son, Andy, lives here. The entire ceremony is a testament to all that is good in the Misericordia community. This article is my personal story of the two reasons why this liturgy has so much meaning for me.
As a child, going to church was something I tolerated because I wasn’t given an option. I didn’t really learn to appreciate the Mass until I was older and began to understand more about the faith that I had always practiced. Andy has always been tuned in to liturgy. Many times, when I was cross or impatient with him, he reminded me what the priest said at his homily. If the presider skipped over a word or even a prayer, Andy would be sure to bring it up after Mass. He always looks forward to going to church. One of my concerns for Andy was finding a place where he can attend Mass, grow in his faith, and continue to participate in something that is very important to him.
by Barb Quaintance
Basketball. Bowling. Track and field. Softball. Aquatics. Soccer. Floor hockey. Volleyball. Bocce. Rhythmic gymnastics. Golf. Snowshoeing. Powerlifting. Tennis. MATP (Motor Activities Training Program).
Whew! Those are the Special Olympic sports in which Misericordia athletes participate. Some are team sports, some are individual sports, but they are all very special for these special athletes.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics gives them ongoing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with other Special Olympians and their families. Athletes must be eight years or older and have an intellectual disability. There is no upper age limit. Wheelchair athletes also participate in sports such as track-and-field, bocce, wheelchair racing and bowling.
Click here to watch the first MFA Feature Newsreel highlighting the fabulous MFA volunteers at the CDS Staff Appreciation Lunch!
by Jim Varey
My wife, Lenore, and I along with Mary Jo Gallaher and Bob & Bonnie Romniak are team leaders for the Creations from the Heart booth at Family Fest. In the past, you knew the booth as The Gentle Touch. Our booth sells beautiful handmade or handcrafted articles; it’s a very popular stop at Family Fest.
Traditionally, Creations from the Heart booth sold items such as afghans, blankets, quilted hats and more. For the past two years, we’ve added items such as bird houses, hot plates/cutting boards, ornaments, and other wooden holiday decorations. It’s a wonderful potpourri of creativity.
by Linda Buchalo
If you have a family member at Misericordia, or if you’ve spent some time on campus, you most likely have heard of Bob and Madge. Maybe you don’t know their last name or exactly what they do, but you probably know them by sight, and you know they have something to do with music.
Bob and Madge Erlenbaugh are long-time volunteers at Misericordia, and wherever you see them, voices will be raised in song. This amazing duo started volunteering for Misericordia in 1983, collecting donations for Candy Days. They continued to help at Candy Days, but a few years later increased their volunteer efforts when one of their daughters worked at a special recreation summer camp that served 20 Misericordia residents. During that time, Bob was teaching guitar and leading a choir group. He brought his group to perform at Misericordia, eventually singing on the Children’s Stage at Family Fest. It was this activity that first brought Lou Manfredini to Misericordia; Lou’s children and Bob and Madge’s grandchildren were friends. Thank you, Bob and Madge, and thank you, Lou! Bob and Madge continued to help at the Fest in other ways, and Bob brought members of the volleyball team that he coached to help as well.
by Lisa Paradis
The Misericordia Siblings Organization has done it again! The Artist in All was an amazing success and continues to be a Top Five Fundraiser for Misericordia, raising $950k this year. It takes an army of volunteers, our talented Art Instructors led by Julie O’Sullivan, generous Sponsors and the stunning Artwork our brothers and sisters have on display for an evening at a world-class venue, the Art Institute of Chicago..
Caitlin Deptula led the event as the Chairwoman with the support of Megan Biggam, SIBS Board President, in addition to Lois Gates, Anne Mills, Julie O’Sullivan, and the entire SIBS Board. Over 1,000 attended a mid-summer night at the Art Institute of Chicago. With 246 pieces of artwork and 235 residents participating, our brothers and sisters continue to outdo themselves, with the guidance of their talented art teachers. The artwork alone raised more than $125K this year.
by Kathryn and John Moery
On a beautiful August afternoon, 25 CILA families made their journey to visit CILA homes operated by Misericordia. These families had chosen to tour up to four houses of the nine houses participating in the inaugural CILA Open House event on August 13. The houses on the tour were open for three hours, and the families were scheduled in advance to tour in one of the four time blocks offered. Invitations for the event were sent out electronically in late June, and families RSVP’d with their house selections and the timeframes in which they preferred to visit. As the MFA CILA Site Representatives, we coordinated this event, with the support of Joe Ferrara, the CILA Administrator, and Diane Carpenter, MFA IT Support. Lead families, QIDPs and DSPs were instrumental in preparing and facilitating this event in each of the houses.
The Open House concept was inspired by our quarterly virtual meetings with the CILA families over the past two years, and borne from the frustration of finding a way to stage an in-person family gathering during the pandemic. CILAs, Community Integrated Living Arrangements, are homes in surrounding neighborhoods, licensed by the state Department of Human Services. It was a challenge to conceive of a way to get 82 residents and their families living in 14 homes within five miles of campus together after the pandemic restrictions had been lifted last spring.
by Linda Buchalo
Our last stop on the tour of Misericordia residences is the Heart of Mercy Village. You might mistake the nine homes that make up the Village as a suburban development, but look again—these lovely homes are nestled together within the Misericordia campus. The homes were built in 1983–1984 on the northeast corner of the campus. Each home is unique, primarily brick, but differs slightly, making this part of campus look very much like a typical neighborhood. Each home has its own patio for outdoor dining or taking advantage of nice weather.
Within the last ten years, the homes were remodeled. The wallpaper came down to make way for a more modern look. The patios were updated—each now has two large tables, a rocking swing, and a grill. Amina Grace Gardens was constructed within the Village and provides a beautiful landscape with various plantings, including pear trees and vegetable gardens.
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