One of the things that sets St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle apart from other residential aged care providers is the pastoral and spiritual care it offers.
In 2010, one Pastoral Care worker was employed three days a week. In 2021, this has grown to a Pastoral & Spiritual Care team of six, which is indicative of the demand for the service and the commitment St Agnes’ Catholic Parish is making to this important ministry.
This dedicated team, led by Sr Anne Hannigan, works with residents, carers, families and staff, providing sensitive and compassionate support in many forms such as listening, talking together, prayer, music, nature, religious and ecumenical services and much more (see photos).
The excellence of the care provided was recently evidenced when two members of the Pastoral & Spiritual Care team attended an Australia-wide webinar (online via Zoom). Everyone was asked to introduce themselves and the service for which they worked. After our two representatives had introduced themselves, the next person said, ‘before I introduce myself, I just have to say a relative of mine was at Emmaus and I cannot speak highly enough of the pastoral care they received’.
Another example is found in the way the Pastoral & Spiritual Care team helps people link into other Parish services when they are in need.
In the latter half of 2019 an elderly couple Mr & Mrs Smith (*names changed for privacy) began experiencing failing health so they were considering the next step in their life’s journey, which was to purchase a villa in one of the St Agnes’ villages.
They contacted Village Sales, who in turn contact the Pastoral Care team as the couple were struggling with the decision to leave a wonderful big family home. Downsizing is not easy, especially when many family memories are attached to the home.
After visiting the couple in their home, Pastoral Care understood from Mr & Mrs Smith that they were struggling with a few matters, both personal and transitional. To help them manage these issues, Pastoral Care referred Mr & Mrs Smith to the Donnelly House Client Relationship team, who provided advice on Homecare packages for assistance in their home. Now armed with information, support and confidence, the couple purchased the villa and, in December 2019, moved in.
Over time, Mrs Smith’s health deteriorated and she eventually moved into Emmaus; A decision and a transitional moment that caused both guilt and grief. Throughout this period, Pastoral Care continued to support both Mr & Mrs Smith.
Mrs Smith’s condition was such that she passed away a few months later.
Pastoral Care were there for Mr Smith and his family in their time of grief and continue to visit Mr Smith in the Village. The family recently attended a memorial service at Emmaus, organised by the Pastoral & Spiritual Care team, in honour of his wife and their mother.
This is love in action and pastoral care at its best!