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Finding peace at Kordes Center
- 1 of 3Lucille Heilers, former Sisters of St. Benedict employee and current Trilogy Health Services resident, is assisted in getting her snack by Sister Christine Marie Fendel.
- 2 of 3Sister Christine Kempf talks to Trilogy Health Services residents and staff about the history of the monastery church during a tour.
- 3 of 3Trilogy Health Services residents and staff enjoy an afternoon snack near the gazebo on the monastery grounds.
For the first time ever the southwest division of Louisville-based Trilogy Health Services treated some of their nursing home residents to a mini-vacation to Kordes Center, the retreat facility of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand.
Thirteen residents spent the night and a total of 35 were able to come during the day to participate in activities, which included a church tour, visiting For Heaven’s Sake gift shop, refreshments outside, and fishing in Madonna Lake. All activities were optional.
The entire adventure was focused on giving the residents the opportunity to do different things and to get away from it all in a peaceful, retreat-like setting. Activities that are done at the nursing home, such as playing cards, were not on the agenda, but could have been added if a resident requested it.
Bryant “Pete” Otto, who resides at St. Charles Health Campus in Jasper, had never been to the monastery, even though he grew up in Jasper. Otto says, “I came here to find peace in God. I enjoyed the church tour and am looking forward to vespers. I’ll have a lot of memories from here.”
Scenic Hills resident Kathleen Raney already had many memories from the monastery from years ago. She graduated in 1950 from Academy Immaculate Conception (later known as Marian Heights Academy, which closed in 2000). As Raney looked around the monastery church, she said, “A piece of me is always here.”
For 17 years Lucille Heilers, also a Scenic Hills resident, was an employee of the Sisters of St. Benedict, working at the switchboard. Sister Marilyn Schroering said she remembers Heilers as always knowing where people were and how to track them down for calls, and that was years ago when there were more sisters and all the academy girls living on campus. But, this time Heilers was at the monastery for vacation, not to report for work.
As the vacationers sat out by the gazebo near Kordes Center, munching on an afternoon snack that included the fall tradition of apple cider, everyone seemed to be enjoying the day. The many Trilogy staff members that escorted the residents seemed to be having a good time as well. A few of the staff members walked up with an important report, “the fishing poles are ready! Who wants to go fishing?” Another staff member announced she was going to the gift shop if anyone wanted to join her, and yet another was getting a group together to take a bus tour of the monastery grounds. Residents started to scatter to pursue their activity of choice, while a few others remained seated in the benches and swing to enjoy the glorious weather.
The entire event was such a success that coordinator Sherri Ganka said they are considering making it a bi-annual adventure. “We were very happy with Kordes Center and all the sisters that seem to come with it,” says Ganka. “They were so helpful! And the monastery grounds were enchanting, spiritual, and peaceful.
“It was amazing!”