Jack Scriven leads the rosary group at Toronto’s Providence Healthcare.

Daily Mass, rosary groups among the services offered by long-term care facilities

  • August 31, 2011

TORONTO - Elodie Robichaud remembers well praying the rosary as a young girl and is pleased she is able to continue this tradition at Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence.

Homes like Providence Healthcare help to nurture the spiritual lives of residents. Robichaud really appreciates that spiritual component of the community at the Toronto long-term care home. She considers the faith community there, which prays together and attends daily Mass, “family.”

“Being able to go to Mass every morning, it’s a big gift for us,” said Robichaud.

Robichaud, 86, and her husband Gaspard, 84, attend daily Mass and rosary group together.

The rosary group at Providence began about 25 years ago when resident Jack Scriven started volunteering. Scriven, 94, leads the group that has up to 40 people gathering every day at the chapel.

Meanwhile, fellow resident Basil Daniel (also affectionately known as “Number 4” because he leads the fourth decade of the rosary each day) agrees and says praying the rosary with the group after breakfast is “a great way to start the day.”

At Carmel Heights Seniors Residence in Mississauga, Ont., the spiritual needs of Catholic residents are also fulfilled.

Sr. Veronica Dobson says in addition to daily Mass, there is daily eucharistic adoration for the 33 residents. A priest also hears confession.

“When they come here (to the Mass), it means so much to them,” Dobson said.

Carmel Heights resident Doris Braganza directs the choir. Braganza, 77, a former Catholic elementary school teacher, has been at Carmel Heights for seven years. She says she enjoys living in a Catholic atmosphere where faith is an integral part of everyday life.

“The nuns are very giving and loving,” said Braganza.

For Sharon Leroux, a resident at St. Bernard’s Residence in Toronto, attending Mass and being a member of a faith-sharing group has also enriched her experience at a retirement residence.

“Daily Mass is a gift. I hadn’t been able to do that until I came here,” Leroux said.

“It’s keeping me focused on the spiritual aspect of my life. The Eucharist is the centre and everything flows from that.”  

Leroux added that other residents also value this spiritual component.

She recalls a day when the residence elevator was broken. But that didn’t dampen the faith of senior residents using walkers.

“(They) tried the stairs to get down there,” she said.

“It was quite a demonstration of faith.”

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