“Blessing of the Hands” Helps Celebrate CNA Week at St. Peter

National Nursing Assistant Week was June 9th through June 16th. St. Peter Villa values the role that our nursing assistants (CNAs) play in the day to day lives of our residents. From assisting with meals to assisting with dressing and bathing, our CNAs place the needs of our residents first.

One of the ways we celebrated CNA week was with a “Blessing of the Hands” celebration, led by our chaplain. Chaplain David Elkins visited all three floors on all three shifts to meet with each CNA individually.

Using a scripture from Exodus (17:11–13), Chaplain David reminded our CNAs of the importance of the hand. He told the story of Moses holding his hands in the air during Israel’s battle against Amalek. As long as Moses’ hands remained raised, Israel prevailed. Whenever Moses would lower his hands, Amalek prevailed. But the hands of Moses would often grow weary. When that happened Aaron and Hur would come to Moses’ aid to support his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus Israel defeated Amalek that day.

Chaplain David reminded the CNAs that just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ hands when he grew tired, our CNAs support the hands of our precious residents when they can no longer support or care for themselves. The hands of each CNA were then bathed in cool water and anointed with a fragrant lotion. This symbolized that the CNAs at St. Peter Villa are like a sweet fragrance to our residents. Then a blessing was said over each CNA.

Restorative Aid Vivian Hayes said it was a wonderful experience to participate in this service. It encouraged her in her work and in her faith. It also reminded her of the importance of what she does day in and day out at St. Peter Villa.

To all of our CNAs at St. Peter Villa, “Thank you. May God give you encouragement, wisdom, patience and strength for your ministry to His most precious servants at St. Peter Villa. May He shower nothing but choice blessings upon you. And may give you a strong body, and a sound mind as you serve Him.”

–Chaplain David Elkins

Music Enhances Resident’s Life

spv larry

One of our residents, Mr. Larry, resides on the 3rd floor of our facility. Mr. Larry doesn’t communicate verbally very much. He also has very little social interaction with any of the other residents, other than those on his floor. He has had several falls recently, none of which have resulted in injuries.

One of our weekly activities in the spirituality department is the “Chaplain’s Corner.” Recently, we were conducting one of our Chaplain’s Corner activities with the residents on the 3rd floor. I was being assisted by some of our Rhodes University Student Volunteers. Mr. Larry was present, but not paying much attention to what I was doing. Instead, he was trying to get to the couch across the room. As I continued singing a song with the residents, I noticed Mr. Larry trying to get onto the couch from his wheelchair. I called for two of our nurses, who just happened to walk by at that time, and asked for some help. They immediately came to the rescue of Mr. Larry before he could fall. I invited him to come sit by me, which he did.

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St. Peter’s Villa Celebrates National Day of Prayer

Signature Healthcare at St. Peter Villa in Memphis joined other Signature facilities and believers across the nation in celebrating the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 5th. About 30 residents and stakeholders took advantage of the beautiful weather and celebrated the day outdoors in the beautiful gardens that surround St. Peter Villa. Participants enjoyed singing several gospel songs, including “This is the Day” and “This Little Light of Mine.” Chaplain David Elkins brought a devotional message based on the story of Solomon dedicating the Temple from the Old Testament. From the Book of 1 Kings, he focused on Solomon’s prayer to God to “have regard to the prayer of Thy servant” and to “listen to the cry and hear the prayers” that Solomon offered on behalf of the people (1 Kings 8:28). The devotion then turned to 2 Chronicles and God’s response: “I have heard your prayer” (2 Chronicles 7:12). The celebration concluded with everyone enthusiastically singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand.”

A highlight of the celebration was the making of a prayer chain. Residents and staff were encouraged to share prayer concerns by writing them on strips of paper. The strips were then linked together to form a chain of prayer requests over nine feet in length. Requests ranged from healings to financial freedom to specific requests for specific family members and friends. Staff members were available to assist residents with writing their requests. The chain currently hangs outside the chapel and is a reminder of God’s promise: “I have heard your prayer.”

The activities department and dietary departments at St. Peter’s Villa participated in the celebration by making and serving everyone coke floats for refreshments. It was a wonderful celebration of prayer, fellowship, and the power of the God to hear all our prayers.

November Thanksgivings

November is such a “thankful” month.  It begins with All Souls and All Saints Day where we are thankful for of us as “saints” and we remember “those that have died”.  We then turn to our Veteran’s and give thanks for what they have done to protect our country.  We had a wonderful celebration at St. Peter Villa with a touching ceremony followed by food and fellowship in the Hall of Fame Café.  We honored 26 veterans.  We had our resurvey and performed marvelously.  For this we are very thankful.  Yesterday our residents enjoyed Thanksgiving by sharing food together or with their families.  Many of the stakeholders were with their families or remained at the Villa to serve our “resident families”.  Sunday is the last day of the month and we will begin the greatest thanksgiving event of all, Advent.

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Peace in the Storm

And Noah and his sons and his wife and his son’s wives entered the ark to escape the water of the flood.  Genesis 7:  I enjoy Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s commentaries and would like to share some of what he said.  We have been under great stress at St. Peter Villa with everyone working very hard but sometimes we fill overwhelmed.  Once again we learn that God is always the answer.

A number of years ago, an art gallery ran a contest to see who could create the best painting that portrayed the idea of peace.  There were many worthy submission.  There was a magnificent painting of a sun setting over the tranquil waters of a pristine beach.  Another depicted lush pastures with rolling green hills and a placid lake.  Still another entry showed fresh snow in the mountains with a small log cabin glowing with the light of a warm fire within.

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Recent trip to Dominca

My wife and I have been to the Caribbean many times but never to the Island of Dominica.  A small island near the end of the chain of islands, just north of Barbados.  It is very poor and none of the glitzy hotels and  countless Diamond International stores.  We went to the south end of the island where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet.  You a jetty projection in the water you can actually put one foot in the Caribbean and the other in the Atlantic.

As we were returning to the main town and to return to the cruise ship we stopped at St. Luke’s Primary School.  A Catholic elementary school with a number of innovative programs such as its agriculture program.  It has two Catholic nuns in charge and an American Peace Corps volunteer as the art teacher.  We were met by the Peace Corps Volunteer.  She proudly showed us here room, a separate concrete structure with no air-conditioning and no windows either.  The children had been making Madras Gras masks for the upcoming carnival and parade.  For over 250 students the art room consisted of a few pieces of paper, a few broken crayons, my grandchildren would have cast into the trash, as well as a few “stubby” pencils.

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Rise and Shine!!!!

“Rise and shine!”  Maybe you woke up to that morning call as a child or in the military.  While many people are familiar with the phrase, most aren’t aware of its origins.  It comes from Scripture – Isaiah 60:1.

The word “arise” in this context means to wake up-not just physically, but spiritually.  We must wake up to the knowledge of who we are what we are meant to do in the world.  As it says in Proverbs, “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD…”(20:27).

The word “shine” obligates us to do something with the divine spark within us.  We must work on revealing it and sharing our unique light with the world.  We are here to bring light to the darkest of places, healing to all broken places.  While it might seem like a daunting task in the dark world we live in.  The smallest amount of light can dispel a great amount of darkness.

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Lost for prayer

The routine at St. Peter Villa is to begin the day at our morning standup meeting with a prayer.  As chaplain I am expected to have an inspiring prayer to get us ready for the day.  Sometimes prayer comes very easy but other times not so easy.  I am sure that we all have periods of “being in the desert” in our prayer life.  It can happen to the chaplain too.  Prior to standup this morning I was suddenly struck with what the prayer should be.  When I arrived at work I did what I usually do, check the computer for the daily plunge.  Today’s was from 1 John 3:18 “Our love is something real and active.”  I then turned to a daily devotion I receive called Holy Land Moments Daily Devotional.  In it was the following “John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  Gratitude is not just what we say; it’s a way of life.

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Daughter finds key to her history

When St. Peter Villa was purchased by Signature Healthcare in December 2010 one part of the Villa remained untouched. A room dedicated to the over 150 year history of St. Peter’s is quietly tucked on the second floor of the Assisi Building. On the 5th of July I was called to the information desk to talk with the visitor who had some questions.

Rebecca Martin Losee from Prairieville, Louisiana was enroute to a family reunion in the Missouri Boot Hill Country. She convinced her husband to make a small detour as they transited through Memphis to seek out St. Peter Villa. Mrs Losee indicated to me that her father William Jack Martin had been a patient as a child at St. Peter Villa  sometime between 1925 and 1941. That was about all the information she had.

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What’s Right?

There was a Rabbi renowned for his brilliance, and he was able to answer just about every question fired his way and prove his theories in the face of any challenges his students and colleagues could pose.

One day, a young man who had never before spoken up in the rabbi’s classes, raised his hand and asked a question that implied that the rabbi was wrong about the theory that he had been explaining.  The rabbi looked around and noticed an old man sitting in the audience whom he had never seen before.  The rabbi looked back at the young man and said, “You may be right.  I will consider it.”

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