As we open the doors to St. Mary’s Home, I hear my daughter Lily say, “I’m scared,” as she squeezes my hand.
She is a second grader at Frances Xavier Warde School in Chicago and has spent the school year learning about community service. While she is only 8 years old, this isn’t her first experience with community service or visiting with the elderly.
It all began while she was working to make her sales goal selling Girl Scout cookies. She made a phone call to a family friend who placed a special “order.” She would buy 50 boxes if Lily would also deliver them to the elderly. Her customer wanted to make sure that the recipients would not only enjoy them, but would not be able to buy them for themselves. Our friend wanted to honor her late parents who loved Girl Scout cookies. Lily agreed to the challenge and went to bed for the next couple of nights talking about the big order and how to make this a special memorial for our friend’s parents.
I recalled a conversation I had with a gentleman named Anthony Feola from Boston. He said, “if you ever have the opportunity to help the Little Sisters of the Poor in Chicago — do it, they are incredible and have prayed for me on numerous occasions.” I contacted Mother Patricia, and I knew immediately she understood this was about making a connection and making people happy.
And now we are walking into the lobby . . .
And Lily is scared.
Mother Patricia greeted us warmly and I could see Lily relax. We were off. No time to think about being scared. Lily was to deliver all 50 boxes with a special note to the people we visited. Mother Patricia made the introductions and before long, Lily felt a little more comfortable with talking first. Some people asked how much they owed, some cried, but everyone was happy. Halfway through giving out the cookies, Mother Patricia asked if an ice-cream break would be okay. I think this is when Lily imagined the halo over Mother Patricia’s head.
By the time we resumed the delivery, I watched Lily looking up to Mother Patricia. In her mind, she was hanging out with the “boss” and could learn a couple of things. Lily wasn’t walking next to her — she was floating next to her. As her Mom, I could tell she was feeling what it would be like to hit a homerun. She was proud. I was proud. Everyone was happy.
When we got into the car, we immediately called our friend to thank her profusely for the unbelievable day. It was the best experience we have had in a long time.
“Can we please go back- PLEASSSSSEEEE?”
We created a short video as a gift for our friend who bought the cookies. She could have taken her family to dinner or had a lovely spa day. Girl Scout cookies aren’t cheap. At $4 per box, we thought we better show her a return on her investment.
In gratitude and memory of William J. and Ethelreda Sullivan. Thank you to our friend and local community leader Mrs. Terri Langellier (who bought the cookies). Here is our video: Click here.