Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sister, Sister

Back in February I wrote that I have one brother...Chuck Berry. I also have one sister...Karen Berry. But my one sister has many other sisters. "How can that be?" you may be asking (or maybe not). My sister, Karen, is a Roman Catholic nun. Her official name is Sr. Karen Berry, OSF. The "OSF" behind her name indicates that she is a member of the Order of Saint Francis. Their community "home" is in Joliet, Illinois, but she lives in Tucson, Arizona.

I have mentioned a few times that my mom was with us for a while this spring. She's been living with Karen, and her roommate, Diane, in Tucson for the past 2-1/2 years. But in February I flew out there to accompany her back here to visit with us for a couple of months. She was due to go back with Karen in mid May. But while she was with us, her health began to decline. It was obvious to the whole family that it was time to move her to the next level of care...a nursing home.
That's a difficult time for any family. We allowed her to choose where she would want to go. She wanted to go back "home" to Illinois. We are all from the town of Streator, but she chose to go to Joliet...about an hour away from Streator. The sisters of Saint Francis in Joliet established the ministry of Our Lady of Angels retirement home in 1962. It's a beautiful place and we can remember mom saying, "If I ever have to go into a place like that, I want to come here." So we took her there earlier this month and got her settled in. She's a long way from family because we are so scattered now, but she is surrounded by caring people in a wonderful facility. Her room is in the newly remodeled wing and she is surrounded by nuns...some of whom she's known for several years. So even though as a child she had 7 sisters of her own, she can now claim many, many more!

So on May 4th, Jerry and I packed mom and her things into Jodi and Jeremy's SUV (a very nice way to make the trip) and drove from here in Georgia to my brother and sister-in-law's house near St. Louis. We rested up on Monday, then drove to Joliet on Tuesday, May 6th. Karen flew into Chicago, rented a car, and met us at OLA. This is a picture of all of us taken that day. That's Jerry on the left and Karen on the right. Linda and Chuck are standing in the back, and that's me and mom in the front center.
So mom is settled in there now, but feeling the absence of family. Please keep her in your prayers as she makes this adjustment.

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