A Compassionate Calling

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Lynn and her great aunt “T”

This Sunday we’ll be heading to Santa Ana for a grand Fiesta in support of the St. Francis Home, a retirement community run by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

This is our third year attending the fundraiser at the women-only retirement home where my 95 year old great aunt “T” has lived for the past two and a half years. It’s always a fun way to spend the afternoon outside, visiting with “T,” her friends and other families, enjoying the delicious food sponsored by La Casa Garcia, festive music and entertainment, and perusing the classic cars on display by a local car club. All for only $15 per person with raffle tickets also available for one of the better opportunity drawings I’ve seen lately.

 My great aunt, a fiercely independent woman who worked as a long-distance switchboard operator and later as a secretary for the Small Business Administration until she retired, outlived two husbands and her only son, Gregory, who died at age 10. She lived near downtown L.A. most of her life and only in 2007 after she told us she took a fall in the apartment she’d occupied alone for 36 years did her autonomy become a dilemma.

It became apparent the time to move her closer to family in Orange County was upon us. She moved in with my mom in 2007 and lived with her until mom began to suffer major back issues. “T” moved to St. Francis not long after her 93rd birthday.

  “T” was a prolific and lifelong writer, so when I first began writing “Lynn’s Spin,” I would send my columns to her for her opinion. She always gave me wise, insightful input. Not fussy, just pithy and straight to the point. That’s her way – she’s satisfied with practical, simple living which St. Francis provides in a clean, comfortable, homelike environment. And while we know she would much rather be back at her old apartment doing her thing on her own, the patient, loving care she receives by the Sisters and staff of St. Francis is truly a Godsend.

The first part of St. Francis home adjacent to its picturesque chapel in Santa Ana was blessed in 1949. Due to the long waiting list of potential residents at the time, an addition was completed two years later and St. Francis Home has grown ever since.

Sunday’s fundraiser provides essential financial support for the St. Francis Sisters and staff who are constantly seeking to make improvements to the aging property. While donations of clothing, personal care items and home goods are always needed and appreciated, what they really need are the funds to make building improvements to the convent, home and chapel. These include replacing flooring in the activity and dining rooms, mending roofs, replacing old plumbing and electrical, installing fire alarms and air conditioning, purchasing mattresses and chairs for the TV room, etc.

What I love about this humble institution is how far they make things stretch – nothing is wasted or taken for granted, and funds are spent in the most responsible and practical manner needed to keep residents healthy and comfortable.

St. Francis is not a fancy retirement home–it is as modest and pragmatic as you can imagine, but the compassionate service, companionship and loving care the Sisters provide to the residents is deserving of much support. Their work is done quietly, humbly and without regard for any recompense other than their higher calling to serve others and thereby glorify God. It has been a good home for our Aunt “T,” and my family and I deeply appreciate their commitment.

If you are interested in supporting St. Francis with donations of goods, funds or as a volunteer member of their Guild, please visit st-francis-home.org or contact Sister Elia at (714) 542-0381.

Sunday’s event is being held at St. Francis Home located at 1718 W 6th St., Santa Ana – near Raitt and 6th St. Tickets are only $15 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. You definitely will not go home hungry – it’s some of the best Mexican food I have ever tasted!

We’ll be there on Sunday, come and join in an opportunity to help others you won’t soon forget.


Lynn Selich is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of OCSocialScene.com which provides the Indy with its “Benefit” coverage. Reach her at [email protected].

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