Alternative Christmas Fair
The annual Alternative Christmas Fair will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, at the First Presbyterian Church in Wellsboro. Volunteers are needed for one or two hour shifts. This event raises funds for the Samaritan House and brings about community awareness of the Samaritan House ministry. New volunteers are welcome and encouraged to assist! Please call Lillian Fox (570-772-3792) for more information, or if you would like to volunteer an hour of your time on Dicken’s Day.
Construction on a new entrance to the Samaritan House will begin soon. The entryway will be at ground level on the back of the house, which will be especially helpful in during the winter months when the driveway can be hazardous. More information to be shared after the project begins.
The Samaritan House Book Group recently sponsored “The El Camino: An Evening with Jan Bernethy.” Jan is a Samaritan House volunteer who walked the El Camino de Santiage in Spain. She shared her spiritual journey, and unexpected moments of grace, as she made this pilgrimage. The event was enjoyed by all in attendance. Sincere thanks to Jan for sharing her story!
The Book Group usually meets on the first Monday of each month (unless the Parish Center is not available. (When this is the case, you will receive an email update.) Participants share a light snack. There is no need to read each book. Rather, all are welcome to come and enjoy the company of fellow volunteers. For more information call Laurie Coffee 570-549-2210 or Julie Stager 570-376-2424.
Please note the following dates and locations for upcoming meetings:
November Book Group Meeting: November 13th at 6:30pm.
“Extreme Measures” by Jessica Nutik Zitter, MD.
December Book Group Meeting: December 18th at 6:00pm at Jan Bernethy’s home.
Bring a light snack to share. Book selection will be determined at November meeting.
Welcome New Volunteers!
A warm welcome to several new volunteers: Marian Bowers, Jim & Barb Dinsmore, Stephanie Florence, Diane Franco, Beverly Hawkes, Lee Mentzer, Patricia Minnich, Julie Mitchell, Cora Roth, and Nancy Cobb.
Mark Your Calendars!
The next Volunteer Appreciation Event will be held on Sunday, April 15th, 2018 at St. Peter’s Parish Center. The theme will be “End of Life Planning”, a discussion about talking with family and health care providers about end-of-life matters.
The Samaritan House Steering Committee would like to thank Jackie Murphy for her many years of service as a committee member. Jackie recently resigned from this position, but will continue to serve as a volunteer and intake resource person.
Samaritan House Website
The Samaritan House website at http://www.samaritanhouseofwellsboro.com is a good way to educate family and friends about our end-of-life ministry, and to encourage others to consider becoming volunteers. Applications and Confidentiality Statements can be downloaded from the tab “Volunteer Information”. Consider sharing our website as a way of recruiting new volunteers!
“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart,
I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains,
I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
Reviews for the Book Club Selection: “Extreme Measures” by Jessica Zitter, MD
"Like Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, Zitter's book shows how knowing when to do nothing is as vital to being a good doctor as knowing when do to everything."
--New York Times Book Review
"Required reading for every young medical student and every family member wondering how to help the people they love live well to the end."
—Ellen Goodman, founder of The Conversation Project
"A stunning portrait of the ways decisions in the intensive care unit shape the way we live—and die—now. Whether we live with illness, love someone who is facing these decisions, or care for them professionally, Dr. Zitter has written a call to action that none of us can ignore.”
—Anthony Back MD, author of Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients: Balancing Honesty with Empathy and Hope
About the Author: Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D., MPH, is an expert on the medical experience of death and dying. She attended Stanford University and Case Western Reserve Medical School, and completed her residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She was a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
Zitter is double-boarded in the two specialties of pulmonary/critical care medicine and palliative care medicine—a rare combination. She writes for The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Pacific Standard, The Atlantic, and Journal of Palliative Medicine, and is featured in Extremis, an Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary about end-of-life decision-making in an ICU.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry meets once a month following the 8:30am Mass at St. Peter’s. The group gathers near the Blessed Sacrament.The members prayerfully knit and crochet shawls to be shared with the sick. For more information, or to request a shawl, contact Jan Bernethy at (307) 267-0677.
O Heavenly Father:
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.
- “Dear Abby” Columnist
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Many volunteers and their guests enjoyed a delicious dinner and informative presentation at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner held in April. The event was a celebration of the ministry we all share at Samaritan House. Volunteers of various faiths and religious backgrounds came together with a common desire to serve the dying and their families. Members of the Prayer Shawl ministry displayed their beautiful handiwork, and spoke briefly about their service to our parish and community. The evening was enjoyed by all in attendance! Special thanks to Dr. Ed Guelig for his discussion on the criteria for hospice care.
The front entrance and sidewalk at the Samaritan House have been renovated, and plans are in place to construct a vestibule on the lower back side of the house. This area will be used as an entrance from the parking, and will include space for coats and boots. These renovations are possible due to generous donations made to the Samaritan House.
The Samaritan House Book Club has been meeting on a monthly basis since March of 2017.
Participants meet on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 pm in the Adult Education Room at the St. Peter’s Parish Center. Generally, about eight volunteers gather for these meetings, which is a good number for conversation and sharing. Several books have been discussed, including: An Army in Heaven and When Breath Becomes Air. The group is currently reading Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. The discussions focus on the book of the month, although each conversation is rich with personal experiences, beliefs, and feelings about life and death.
Please consider joining the group on Monday, August 7th, or any first Monday of the month. Participants share a light snack and a little wine. There is no need to read each book. Rather, all are welcome to come and enjoy the company of fellow volunteers! For more information call Laurie Coffee 570-549-2210 or Julie Stager 570-376-2424.
An Opportunity to Serve
Several of our Samaritan House volunteers are active with Susquehanna Hospice as well. Those who may be interested in hospice work when we do not have a guest at the Samaritan House are welcome to contact Bob Coppadge (Hospice Volunteer Liaison for Susquehanna Health.) Bob would be happy to discuss cross training and opportunities to serve those in need of hospice care. He can be reached at email@example.com or (570) 723-0760.
A Collection of Favorite Quotes from “Being Mortal”, by Atul Gawande.
“All we ask is to be allowed to remain the writers of our own story. That story is ever changing. Over the course of our lives, we may encounter unimaginable difficulties. Our concerns and desires may shift. But whatever happens, we want to retain the freedom to shape our lives in ways consistent with our character and loyalties. This is why the betrayals of body and mind that threaten to erase our character and memory remain among our most awful tortures. The battle of being mortal is the battle to maintain the integrity of one’s life—to avoid becoming so diminished or dissipated or subjugated that who you are becomes disconnected from who you were or who you want to be.”
“Whenever serious sickness or injury strikes and your body or mind breaks down, the vital questions are the same: What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes? What are your fears and what are your hopes? What are the trade-offs you are willing to make and not willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding?”
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
The season of Spring turns our thoughts toward the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to be held on April 3oth at St. Peter’s Parish Center. The program will begin at 5pm with a presentation about the criteria for hospice, given by Dr. Ed Guelig. Dinner will follow the presentation, and door prizes will be awarded. Many of you plan to attend this event, which is a celebration of the ministry we share at Samaritan House. Last minute reservations can be made by calling (570) 404-2180 no later than Friday, April 14th.
Samaritan House has received national recognition through a recent article featured in the National Catholic Reporter! Click on the link below to read "Samaritan House is a 'spa for the dying', by Peter Feuerherd.
This recognition reflects the dedication and service of each one of you, and is shared with deepest appreciation.
A new washing machine has been installed in the basement. New emergency lighting has also been installed. It is designed to last for about two hours during an outage. The front door and kitchen will soon be painted, and a major outdoor renovation is being planned to create a safer entrance to the house.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry will meet near the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday, April 30th, following the 8:30am Mass at St. Peter’s. Participants will prayerfully knit and crochet the shawls to be shared with the sick. For more information, or to request a shawl, contact Jan Bernethy at (307) 267-0677.
The Samaritan House Book Group gathered twice this year. Volunteers in attendance have enjoyed thoughtful discussions and sharing, and refreshments. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 8th at 6:30pm in the Adult Ed room at the Parish Center. The group will reflect on the book “When Breath Becomes Air”, by Paul Kalanithi.
Some books can be borrowed from the Samaritan House or the Green Free Library. To purchase, visit our local bookstore “From My Shelf”. http://www.wellsborobookstore.com/
Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled shift. This allows for time to read the log and to change/turn a guest if necessary.
“When Breath Becomes Air”, by Paul Kalanithi.
At the age of thirty six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation for a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally in to a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out in to a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in the profoundly moving memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
The National Catholic Reporter recently published an article about the Samaritan House. Click here to read "Samaritan House is a 'spa for the dying", by Peter Feuerherd.
Greetings to all as we embark on a New Year within our ministry! Our current guest has been with us for 9 full weeks and three holiday celebrations – not to mention her 92nd birthday! She and her family have blessed all who have served them. Many new volunteers have taken shifts and joined our volunteer family. Your dedication and commitment make this happen.
Over the last six months Samaritan house has been the recipient of generous donations from families whose loved ones were cared for by you, the volunteers. These funds help maintain the house and assist in payment of expenses on an ongoing basis.
Lillian Fox and Patty Perry represented the Samaritan House at the annual Alternative Christmas Fair, held at the Presbyterian Church on Dicken’s Day. Thank you to Lil and Patty for sharing their time and treasures at this meaningful event.
Mark Your Calendars
The Samaritan House committee is planning a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Sunday, April 30th at 4:30pm at St. Peter’s Parish Center. Dr. Edmund Guelig will speak about the criteria for hospice care. Dinner will follow the presentation. Each volunteer is welcome to bring a guest. Please RSVP no later than April 10th. This will also be an opportunity to meet other volunteers. The Committee looks forward to your attendance.
A Note of Gratitude (from the daughter of a recent guest)
“As I take time to reflect this holiday season, many memories of my Dad flood my days. He loved Christmas – the songs, the presents, but most of all when we all came back home to Wellsboro.
Every memory of Dad is accompanied by true thankfulness that he was able to spend his last days in the community he loved and that wonderful volunteers were able to help my Mom. I cannot express the peace of mind that you all have brought to my family. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, full of God’s blessings joy and peace.”
The Samaritan House Committee extends a warm welcome to Jen Stephens, who will be
available to assist Linda with future schedules. Read a bit about Jen below.
Hello Volunteers, my name is Jen Stephens. Some of you may already
know me, but to those who do not, I would like to introduce myself. I live
in Wellsboro with my husband Jim and my two children Madeline & Charlie. Primarily I am a stay-at-home mom, but I also work part-time
at Cafe 1905 and I am the VP of the S&SMH Auxiliary.
I strongly believe in volunteerism and its benefit to our community. In
fact, a sense of community is impossible without volunteers. I am excited
to participate in the Samaritan House ministry and look forward to working with each of you. Warmest regards, Jen Stephens.
A Note from Linda
Although I correspond daily with all of you when we have a guest, there are many volunteers
whom I have never met!
Here is a bit about my history with Samaritan House: I was present
at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that formally opened the doors to
our ministry in 1999, and among the first group of volunteers to
serve a guest at the house. I spent a number of those early years
as a volunteer, and then took leave for a time.
I returned in the summer of 2013, and shortly after, was invited to
fill the position of scheduler. It is a true honor and privilege to
work with each of you, as well as the guests and families at
The committee wishes to thank Patty Kramer for her years of service as the Volunteer Scheduler. Patty continues to be an active volunteer and member of the Steering Committee.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Here’s how it works: Anyone in the community who loves to knit or crochet can make a shawl. After a shawl is made, it can be kept somewhere in the Samaritan House to be shared with a guest. As the shawls are made, prayers are prayed for the one who will receive the shawl. For more information, please contact Jan Bernathy at 307-267-0677.
Greetings to all we enter November and the approaching holiday season! We are grateful to those who joined us for an evening of food and fellowship on October 30th. Many new volunteers attended this event and enjoyed camaraderie with members of our ministry. Thanks to those who prepared food, decorated tables, and arranged beautiful baskets for our raffles. Special thanks to Melissa Bravo for sharing her moving memoir with us!
Air conditioning/heating units have been installed at the house, as well as a new toilet and vanity in guest bathroom. We were able to complete this work with funds from two grants, as well as a generous donation in memory of a former volunteer, Marie Coll.
We hope to welcome a guest sometime soon, and perhaps share the holidays with a family in need of comfort and care. As always, our sincere thanks to each one of you for the gifts you freely share with the Samaritan House.
Our best wishes to all for a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving.
An Excerpt for "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp:
"Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks - from known to unknown - and know: He holds.
Is that why the Israelite's kept recounting their past - to trust God to their future? Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, a way of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time's shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried. Gratitude is not only the memories of our heart; gratitude is a memory of God's heart and to thank is to remember God.
This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo.
Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust -- to really believe.”
Thank you, Lord, for autumn days, for grateful hearts, for psalms of praise.
Thank you, Lord, for food to share, for family times of faith and prayer.
Thank you, Lord, for all these things, and every joy Thanksgiving brings.
July was a full month at Samaritan House! A new guest arrived on July 7th and remained with us until July 26th. Many volunteers, both seasoned and new, ministered to Shirley and her family. A total of 93 shifts were covered during her stay, thanks to the commitment of so many!
A number of house renovations were completed at the end of July. A new (and higher) commode and a vanity were installed in the guest bathroom, as well as a new baseboard. A new blind will also be mounted in the near future. These additions make the house more attractive and welcoming.
Julie Stager will lead an ‘ad hoc’ committee which will include Laurie Coffee and Kathy Schnell. This team will work on an ongoing basis to recruit new volunteers and raise public awareness about our ministry.
As an extension of the volunteer drive, Samaritan House had a display at the 2016 Senior Expo on August 5th, hosted by Matt Baker. The booth was manned by Mel Rupert and Susanne Lamphier. Turn out for the event was huge and many people stopped to chat and ask questions about the ministry. A few took applications. Many compliments were expressed about the work done through Samaritan House. Assuming we participate next, Susanne and Mel have many ideas to improve our presentation.
New testimonies have been added to our Samaritan House website. We continue to welcome and encourage others to share their experiences as volunteers or family members. Our new website can be reached at: www.samaritanhouseofwellsboro.com.
We plan to gather all volunteers for a potluck dinner sometime this Fall. Watch upcoming emails/newsletters for a date and details. We look forward to seeing everyone soon!
“Life is a pilgrimage. We are on the march, and sooner or later we shall reach our destination. That destination we call heaven. There we shall see God as He is, and that experience will be the cause of a happiness which will be complete and have no end. We are made for that.”
Cardinal Basil Hume, “To Be A Pilgrim”
The Summer season begins with good news from Samaritan House. Eighteen new volunteers have joined our ministry, twelve of whom have been trained to serve our guests. Thanks to all who have assisted with recruiting efforts, and welcome to those who have joined our family! Another orientation/training will be held on Wednesday, July 13th at one o'clock for those who were unable to attend prior sessions, as well as any volunteers who would like a refresher. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to introduce our new Samaritan House website at www.samaritanhouseofwellsboro.com.
The website is still under construction; pages will be added as time allows, and we hope to add more volunteer testimonies. Please consider sharing your experiences to inspire and encourage others.
Until we meet again, wishing you all a safe and happy summer!
My Mission, by Cardinal John Henry Newman
"God has created me to do Him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it;
He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends,
He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate,
make my spirits sink, hide the future from me--
still He knows what He is about."
The Spring season has been a time of renewal for the Samaritan House ministry. Nine new volunteers were trained, and many more are pending. Please continue your recruitment efforts, as we need at least ten additional volunteers in order to sustain a schedule for future guests. A second orientation and training session for new volunteers (and those who would like a refresher) has been scheduled for Thursday, June 9th at 6:00pm at the Samaritan House. Please “RSVP” to this email so we can plan accordingly, and extend this invitation to anyone who has an interest in our ministry. Applications will be available at the training.
The Samaritan House Steering Committee extends a warm welcome to Julie Stager, our newest member. Julie comes to us with many gifts and talents to share with our guests and their families, as well as our committee.
All volunteers who served our April guest are invited to an "Afternoon Tea" next Sunday, May 15th, from 3:30-5:00pm.
As always, sincere thanks to all of you who serve our guests and their families with care and compassion, and to all of our mothers – “Happy Mother’s Day”!
From "Simple Truths" by Kent Nerburn
When we come to the end of our journey, and the issues that so concerned us recede from us like the day before the coming night, it will be the small touches -- the child we have helped, the garden we have planted, the meal we have prepared when we were too weary to do so -- that will become our legacy to the universe.
If we have played our part well, offering love where it was needed, strength where it was lacking; if we have tended the earth and its creatures with a sense of humble stewardship, we will have done enough. We may pass quietly, and rest gently in the knowledge that we have left the world a little warmer, a little kinder, a little richer in love.
Though our moment was brief and our part small, somewhere in the fullness of time, our acts will bear fruit, ant the earth will raise up a bit of goodness in our memory.
It is a small legacy, perhaps, but a legacy nonetheless. Somewhere, between a baby's cry and the distant brightness of a star, the mystery was alive in us for a moment. It was our privilege to feel its presence, and to have the chance to pass it on."
Tis like the birthday of the world, when earth was born in bloom;
The light is made of many dyes, the air is all perfume:
There's crimson buds, and white and blue, the very rainbow showers
Have turned to blossoms where they fell, and sown the earth with flowers.