Summer in Service: Reflections by Jessica Kempisty and Amanda Bagnato
This summer I have the joy of living and working with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Pawtucket, RI. My days are spent working as a Hospitality Aid serving meals, taking Residents to events, helping facilitate activities, and performing any other tasks that may be needed. Activities include everything from leading bingo games to taking the Residents for walks. I have found that it doesn’t really matter what activity we are doing because the joy lies in the time spent with the Residents. I enjoy the moments when I can just talk with them. To share and laugh with them has been a great blessing.
In addition to the Residents, I’ve been able to spend time with some of the Sisters at the Home. Being here has allowed me a deeper look at the daily life of the Little Sisters. I not only see the work the Sisters do, but I have the opportunity to partake in their daily prayer. In doing so, I’ve learned that prayer is not just something they do, but the way they live. From the love the Sisters show their residents to the authentic joy they display when they serve, it is beautiful to see how Christ is the center for all they do. The Sisters focus their days around Christ, blending work and prayer as one. From their witness, I am learning how to serve the Lord through caring for the elderly.
Upon my arrival ago, I instantly felt the love of Christ which comes from the Home. The Home possesses a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. This allowed for a smoother transition when I moved here for the summer from my home in Michigan. The Sisters, Residents, employees, and volunteers treat one another as family. I was no exception to this treatment when I arrived. Every day I am overwhelmed by the love, hospitality and friendship that is shown to me. I didn’t know how easy it was to have somewhere new and unknown feel just like home, but the people here make it feel like it.
My hope and prayer for the rest of the summer is that Christ will continue to show me the joy that comes in completely giving oneself in service to another. I pray that I can allow the love of the Lord to come deeper into my life and I can learn humble and faithful service. In doing so I hope to grow deeper in my faith and seek God’s will. I’m excited to see how the rest of the summer will carry out and I look forward to everything to come.
In Christ and Mary,
For the past year or so a verse from the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, when Mary visits her relative Elizabeth, has been ringing true as a kind of personal theme in my life. In Luke 1:45 Elizabeth says to Mary, “Blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
This verse perfectly describes how I felt before traveling from Broomfield, Colorado to serve as a Hospitality Aide at the St. Jeanne Jugan Residence in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I had felt a strong call to come here and serve for the summer and knew that the Lord had promised me joy and fulfillment during my stay.
Although anxious about the unknowns of this east coast adventure, the moment I arrived at the airport near Providence, I was greeted by Sister Jane and fellow summer-in-service resident Jessica. Their warm smiles and welcoming embraces were the first example of how the Lord would fulfill all of the promises He had spoken to me.
In the days that followed, I began to get to know the Little Sisters, residents, and staff with whom I would spend the next two months. I felt welcomed as family and loved as if I had always been here. During the first week, I was incredibly home sick but the joy and love that radiated from each member of this community brought so much consolation to my heart.
The days are filled with the pleasure of serving breakfast and lunch to the residents, working alongside the Little Sisters on different projects, and helping with a variety of fun activities coordinated for the residents. All of our tasks have enabled us to spend a lot of time getting to know the residents and learning from them. Any moment I can spend with a resident is truly a blessing because of the unique ways I am invited to serve and love each of them.
During a unique opportunity to attend a weekend retreat at the Novitiate for the Little Sisters in Queens, NY, Jessica and I were able to meet the postulants and novices who are on their way to becoming Little Sisters. Please pray for them! We also had the pleasure of meeting several other young women who are participating in the Spring-into-Service program at other homes in the region.
With almost one month into my time of service here in Pawtucket, it is easy to see the gifts that the Lord has given to me. There is no question that the presence of the Lord in the home’s chapel truly defines this place and everyone in it is fully alive. Being able to attend daily Mass, to pray the Rosary every day with the Sisters and Residents, and to have the chapel just a few steps outside of my door are all things that I am blessed to have such easy access to. In addition, the friendships I have formed with everyone here have helped me feel a sense of family when I am so far away from home.
In all of these things I can see the beautiful ways that the Lord is fulfilling all of His promises to me for this summer. I can’t wait to see what the next month brings!
Peace and blessings,