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.