The ordinarily serene enclosed garden of the former mother house of the Brooklyn Sisters of Mercy was alive with music and voices Sunday; the air, warmed by gentle breezes carried tantalizing aroma of burgers and hot dogs sizzling on the grill -- a first course in advance of the sit down dinner to follow the range of outdoor activities. Sept. 15th was Family Spirit Day for the 109 residents of Mercy Home's 13 supervised houses, their 300 caregivers and the residents' relatives.
Mercy Home started as an orphanage for children on this very site 150 years ago. Some of the adults who now benefit from this wonderful ministry came to us as children; others at different stages of their lives. The agency's goal is provide life skills life long. Four Sisters of Mercy are engaged in this work: Sister Kay Crumlish, Caroline Tweedy and Maureen King in administration and Sr. Miguel Ortiz as a nurse. Family Spirit Day is one of many events designed to broaden the residents' experiences.
While much is given to these women and men challenged by a range of mental and physical circumstances, they are also encouraged to give back to their supporters. Some grow food they deliver to soup kitchens in Brooklyn and the hungry on Long Island through Carrlos' Legacy, a non-profit for veterans. Others play in a band that entertains nursing home patients. Today some of their more advanced members paid public tribute to those men and women who provide direct support services.
Greater blessings are surely in store for all who care with people like those in Mercy Home.