"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Flowers to Eagle Ridge Manor residents

Our volunteers for 2014: (l-r) Dora, Catharina, Jaci, and Irene.
In the late winter of 1994, a small group of parishioners from St. Joseph's Parish in Port Moody gathered around a meeting-room table in the church to brainstorm about what could be done to promote their and their church's life-affirming philosophy--the respect for all human life, from conception to its natural end.
I put forward the idea that it might be nice to show our respect for the sick and aged by visiting them over the Easter weekend (a time of the year in which we celebrate life, of course!), presenting them with flowers and greetings.
Everyone agreed that it would be a good idea, and then one of the group looked at me with arched eyebrows and said, "Well...."  I took that to mean that, since the flowers-project was my idea, I would be responsible for making it come to life. And the rest is history.
For 20 years now, I've been organizing a group of parishioners every Easter to visit the residents of a long-term care facility, Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody, bringing them a little Easter cheer of flowers and fellowship. Over the years, we've seen some of the participants grow from little children to young adults. Some others have moved away. A few others have passed away. But every year, we have no difficulty attracting between a half dozen and two dozen volunteers to keep our Easter Flowers project alive.
The Manor's Charlotte Stewart and volunteer Irene Munro, 83.
It was a bit more difficult this year, though, because the Manor asked that all visitors either be vaccinated or don a surgical mask when interacting with the residents. Nevertheless, four volunteers--Irene Munro, Catharina Gani, Jaclyn Dube and Dora Yee--joined me for the 20th-anniversary event this morning.
I've just returned home now from Eagle Ridge Manor and it was another memorable morning, as the flowers, cards (made by children in the parish) and visits really cheered the residents. Family members and staff also expressed their gratitude for our visit.
I'd like to thank Charlotte Stewart, the Manor's recreation therapist, for helping make our visit run smoothly this year, and for taking to a microphone at the end of the morning to give us a special "thank-you." After 20 years, it feels pretty good!
I'd also like to thank Wim Vander Zalm, of Art Knapp's in Port Coquitlam, for faithfully donating the plants each year. The total is now well over 1,500 flowering plants, by my reckoning. Thanks, Wim; we couldn't have done it without your support.

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