It was a typical winter afternoon in Chicago in February: Below-freezing temperatures, cloudy skies, dingy snow piled up on parkways, and rock-hard ruts of ice on the side streets.
It may have been uninviting outside, but inside on Monday, February 7, nothing but bright smiles and sunny dispositions could be found that afternoon at St. Mary’s Home. Everyone was excited to greet Mother Margaret Charles as she arrived to assume the role of our new Mother Superior.
Little Sisters, staff, and representatives for the Residents of St. Mary’s Home and Jugan Terrace were on hand to welcome our new Mother and to present her with a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers.
Although she is no stranger to Chicagoland, Mother Margaret Charles has been away for a while, so we were determined put our Chicago pride on full display for this native of Philadelphia. Several well-wishers waved Chicago’s famous municipal flag, featuring its light-blue and white stripes and iconic six-pointed red stars.
Because transitions are never without challenges, we did want to make things easier for our new Mother.
Rocky Balboa, who also hails from Philly, quickly hustled in to remind Mother Margaret Charles of her roots in the “City of Brotherly Love” and to help her readjust to the “Windy City.” Sporting a red cape and black boxing gloves, Rocky flashed a few jabs and showed off an uppercut or two.
It’s doubtful this pugilist, as earnest and energetic as he was, could really show Mother Margaret Charles the ropes, however. She has been a Superior before at our other Homes. But the appearance by this special guest no doubt served to encourage her to just roll with the punches in Chicago and at our Home. No doubt she will. We’re confident she’s going to be a knockout in her new role.
The next guest, exceeding Rocky in age and distinction, was Chicago’s very own: Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex. A permanent resident at the Field Museum of Natural History, this famous and lovable dinosaur rambled all the way from the South Loop to welcome our new Mother. With a bright toothy smile, Sue had hoped to make a grand entrance as well as a big impression. No bones about it, Sue wanted the occasion to be really dino-mite.
But as soon as she moved to offer her greetings, Sue was apparently overcome with excitement or fear—or both. She took one step and promptly fell over! Everyone was hysterical! Staff immediately rushed in to help up the poor reptile.
Well, this sort of thing was probably not wholly unexpected. Sue had been really anxious before seeing our new Mother. Truth be told, she was a nervous rex.
With the departure of Sue, we reminded Mother Margaret Charles that the Philly cheese steak must now give way to the Chicago Italian beef. Suspecting she may still have a hankering for comfort food from back home, we delivered a special treat specifically imported from “the Quaker City”: a soft pretzel.
Distinguished by its curious elongated figure-8 shape and chewy texture, this unique twist on the pretzel is a treasured hometown staple. As they say: Soft pretzels are to Philadelphia as crepes are to Paris.
But before she had time to slather any mustard on that pretzel, we quickly pointed out that, in our town, we have our own local staple of the quick eat: the Chicago-style hotdog. And because it’s not truly Chicago style without the requisite neon green pickle relish, Mother Margaret Charles was presented with her own jar of this essential condiment.
As “Sweet Home Chicago,” the popular anthem for our beloved city, sounded through the speakers, a number of the staff were moved to dance, clap, and sing along! Of course, although Philadelphia will always have a special place in her heart, we are hoping Chicago will become her kind of town—and home.
We look forward to getting to know Mother Margaret Charles and helping her to get to know us. Welcome to St. Mary’s Home and Jugan Terrace! We are a truly blessed family. We are excited to have you with us!