The following is an excerpt of a letter written by Sr. Christian Maria Arayata and shared with her colleagues at the Jenkins Senior Living community. It is reprinted here by her request.
My journey began at St. Elizabeth’s on July 2, 2018, in a 12-month program to learn about running a nursing facility as an administrator-in-training (AIT) in preparation for the state licensure exam. Without the opportunity that John White and the St. Elizabeth’s family gave me, I wouldn’t be able to take the nursing home administrator licensure exam next month.
The days and months went by unnoticed as I worked with all each and every day, through night and day shifts and serving in all capacities. As I conclude my administrator in training, I am also concluding a beautiful experience with a precious family!
You have all become a part of me! I walked with you; I learned from you the joy and challenges of serving the most vulnerable members of our community. Together we served the residents day and night with such devotion and respect, preserving their dignity, loving them, listening to them while encouraging them to follow our lead so that they can continue their quality of life. The works we do at St. Elizabeth’s, hidden as they are, have joys and challenges, but what better way to work in an environment where we know and we feel that “we belong”!
I would like you to know that you have something so special in this place. Take it! Own it! It is yours. It is so easy to make the residents happy. Their needs are simple, yet can only be met by the helping hands of those who surround them.
The journey I began last year will not end today as I complete my AIT training. As I say goodbye, know of my gratitude for the knowledge that you’ve taught me and the many good memories we’ve shared together — the friendship, the collaboration, the good laugh we had. Knowledge is acquired but being a part of a Great Team with a Great Mission is a blessing. If I can sum up my last few words for you — love the elderly very much, make them happy, be a companion to them because by doing so you will find your true joy. Trust me, I know.
Sr Christian Maria Arayata
Little Sisters of the Poor