Sister Lisi and Sister Caterina, of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden, are living at the Antonian Charitable Society, a home for the elderly of Bethlehem that welcomes poor women and men, who are alone or suffering from serious mental and physical problems.
Sister Catherine is in charge of the kitchen. Sister Lisi takes care of the elderly, providing them medicines and keeping them company.
What is your typical day like?
Sister Caterina: “I get out of bed and, along with the other sisters, I begin the day with prayer. Then I go into the kitchen and start cooking. I can’t say that I have a routine, since I always have to be available: people, guests and visitors can arrive at any moment. We are just a few sisters, and we help out as we can in all tasks. For us, unity is the force that allows us to carry on.”
Sister Lisi: “I also do morning prayer, Mass, and then along with Sister Caterina, I distribute breakfast. I provide medicines and spend time together with our guests, offering them comfort and some advice. At times we forget the joy a simple smile can give.”
What does it mean for you to work with the elderly?
Sister Caterina: “I do this willingly because I know how to take care of creatures loved by God. I started working with the elderly before I was thirty. Initially it was difficult, but I have become used to it and have come to understand that God gives us the strength to carry on. Peeople are very good, and are all grateful for our help. Many, although they have little, seek to help us as they can, giving us vegetables, clothes or bed sheets. And it is wonderful to see how they support us every day.”
Sister Lisi: “I have only been working with the elderly a little while, but I am very happy. We go where others cannot, or wouldn’t go. Few people want to stay with the elderly, especially with those who are seriously ill such as the guests at the Antonian Society.”
What would you like to say to those supporting you?
Sister Lisi: “We would like to thank all those who help us and pray for us, since we live thanks to Providence. As our founder Saint Antonio Gianelli used to say: pray for Providence and it will never fail you.”
Sister Caterina: “It’s true, every day we receive help, and we accept everything with joy. We thank with all our heart those who pray for and help the Antonian Society, remembering our elderly in their prayers. And we reciprocate their affection and love through prayer and daily sacrifice.”