I must pause and write a story about my friend, Sr. Geraldine. I had the privilege of living with her at St. Therese convent which is attached to Maryville Nursing Home. I was teaching at St. Mary of the Valley (Valley Catholic) at the time and lived with our Sisters who worked at the nursing home. What a blessing to me to be around these Sisters. Sister Geraldine and I had a lot in common. We were both entrepreneurs, enjoyed people and spent very little time doing nothing!
She was the Director of Nurses at the time and had a heavy work schedule. On Christmas and Thanksgiving she would put lunches and dinners on at the nursing home for the Staff who had to work and would not be at home for their meal. They so appreciated that kind touch. Several of us helped her out with it and I always made sure I was available to help her out. She loved to cook so I was her chief bottle washer.
One of my favorite memories of her was the occasion of one of the many rummage sales we put on. There was a tin Christmas tree that was really pretty cute but just wouldn’t sell. On Saturday night before we cut all of the prices in half for Sunday we talked about how we could sell the tree. We could either give it away….or increase the price! We moved it from $12. to $50. and it went within the hour! We chuckled about that for a long time.
When Sr. Geraldine celebrated 50 years in community she invited me to go on a trip to Alaska with her. It was a fantastic adventure and I felt very honored to go.
After Sr. Theresa Margaret retired as CEO of Maryville, Sr. Geraldine became the administrator. She was a visionary who made a lot of wonderful improvements to the facility. Having been nurse, Director of Nurses and then Administrator, she really understood the work from top to bottom.
Sr. Geraldine passed away in May of this year. She had suffered a stroke shortly after retiring from administrator of the nursing home. She spent the last several years in our infirmary. Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker was also her very special friend who went to school with her for nursing and worked at the nursing home side by side for many years.
I am a grateful soul for having witnessed the wonderful life of Sr. Geraldine Bernards.