Life in Community at Villa Assumpta

Enjoy this wide-ranging roundtable conversation with Sisters Betty Orr, Mary Frances Angermaier, Francita Hobbs, and Carleen Cekal about their lives and experiences in the 1st floor independent living space at Villa Assumpta. Sister Marianne Roderick, community leader, arranged the meeting.

Sister Mary Frances
Sister Mary Frances

What brought them to Villa Assumpta ... 

Mary Frances: I came here 13 years ago and am turning 96. I came here 13 years ago, when the Sister I lived with began to develop Alzheimer’s. It was a transition to go from living with one to living with many. (Sister Chris ___ moved into Rosary Community on the 3rd floor for assisted living.)

Francita: You still work!

Mary Frances: I do some jobs. I type the birthday list and label missalettes, and type letters for the sisters when I can.

Francita: I help out with Bingo twice a week. The 3rd floor comes down to join us for Bingo when they're not in quarantine. I do other odd jobs. I came in August 2023. I decided to come here because I could get the help I needed. It's a hard decision, no matter what, to leave active duty. But once I made the decision, it was easier.

Betty: I've been here 15 years. Sister Marianne is tremendous. So very good to everyone. She really cares about each person. 

Carleen: I came here in October of 2023 because my longtime friend, Sister Oliver, who has dementia, moved here. She's on the third floor here in Assisted Living. It's one big family here and the care is excellent. The blessing for me here is time to be with my friend.

Mary Frances: I agree about moving with your friend, because of your friend. I was able to give Sister Chris more of my time. I took her ice cream every night. I had the time.

Sister Betty
Sister Betty

Betty: I spent almost a year on the 3rd floor for help with a health need before moving back down. I would go around to the rooms to visit the Sisters. The hardest part is when your body wears out before your head. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to be told what to do. Here you're part of every decision. 

What life is like at Villa Assumpta ...

Mary Frances: We have birthday parties, prayer times, and presentations. The best thing about living here is Eucharist every day, along with other spiritual opportunities like Reconciliation, Stations, Rosary, presentations. Spiritual direction will start soon.

Francita: You can still go out when you want, to concerts and other opportunities. You can sign out a car and go if you still drive, otherwise our driver, Rick, will take you. He's so great. He's been here 21 years. 

Betty: When I first came, I stayed on mission. Volunteer opportunities were given.

Carleen:  Everyone has been so welcoming. The workers, the Sisters. It's been like meeting friends.

Francita: We get such good care. We don't have to make our own doctor appointments unless we want to. They pick up our prescriptions. Some of our employees have been here 20 or 30 years. And you don't have to cook. The food is delicious.

Mary Frances: We are so blessed. We have everything we need for comfort, health, spirituality. We have time to delve deeper into our religious life.

Carleen: The Sisters who take care of the spirituality here are fantastic. Also we enjoy the Sisters from Africa and Vietnam who are living here while they attend NDMU. They enrich us.

Sister Carleen
Sister Carleen

About the next move from Villa Assumpta ...

Mary Frances: We are all moving in a year and a half, to Stella Maris, probably. It's beautiful. Bright and clean, with big bedrooms. It will be an opportunity to be more together there than we are here. It will have space for all of us in one wing.

Betty: I'm feeling good about Stella Maris. The Sisters who live there now are very happy.

Mary Frances: I like it here but there are large bedrooms with private bathrooms there. Here, we share a toilet for two rooms, and have communal showers.

Francita: I don't  want another move, but I'm ready to do what the Lord asks. 

Carleen: I don't care where we go. As long as we can be with one another. It gives me joy to know I will always be near Sister Oliver. It’s okay. 

Francita: I have a message for new Sister residents. You can bring a whole new atmosphere to us. Ask what can you bring that can help us!

Sister Francita
Sister Francita

About watching the General Chapter by Livestream ...

Francita: It was exciting to be a part of it.

Betty: I'm thinking of all of us SSNDs as one now. It's the first time I'm not thinking of European versus African versus AM Sisters.

Mary Frances: It was beautiful. It was amazing to have a Coke in our hand and be able to see Rome!

Carleen: Our tech experts are keeping us in technology and interacting. It's great.

Mary Frances: It made me happy and proud. Our Province is doing everything to get Sisters educated on iPads, computers. I'm attending the iPad class put on by our tech staff including Justin and Carmella. Sister Stacy is leading it.

The roundtable concluded at 11:30, when the Sisters stood up to go to Mass and then lunch. 

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