by Margaret Schmitz, St. Joseph Worker 2017-2018, Carondelet Village
In this holiday season of joy, love, and celebration, I have found myself reflecting on the new sense of fullness I feel as a St. Joseph Worker. We are in month four of the program, and I am finally settling into serving at Carondelet Village, and living in intentional community with seven beautiful women. The chore list is made, the car schedule has rhythm and we have decorated for the holidays. Joseph House has become home, and this brings me warmth in my first Minnesota winter. Every day at Carondelet Village is different and engaging in its own way. Whether I find myself sitting with residents in memory care, leading a Dementia Friends session, or answering emails, every moment is a chance to learn from and enjoy life in the moment.
At Carondelet Village, I have been able to spend time with people experiencing memory loss. These moments have brought new meaning to the practice of being present. Everyone I encounter in memory care is living moment to moment, and my focus is to bring joy to every interaction, as the emotions of the day are more likely to be remembered than the specifics of a conversation, or the person who brought them. Every moment I spend with someone living with memory loss is centered on joy, love, and celebration of life. This is a lesson that I think we can all learn from, and bring into our everyday lives, regardless of our interaction with those experiencing memory loss. I believe that I am becoming a more present, empathetic, joyful person every day in this program, but I also believe that this lesson on being present is something I will carry with me long after my year of service is over.