May 23, 2020


Anyone who passes through the Winnipeg intersection of Main and Redwood will have seen the well-deserved banners on the northern and the western walls of Holy Family Home - "Heroes Work Here". Holy Family is one of several personal care homes throughout the city and province that strives to provide the best possible care for the elderly residents. That seemingly straight forward task, however, has become very complicated since the global coronavirus pandemic was declared. This immediately restricted access, visitation rights and even staff and supplies. However, as the home was founded by and remains under the direction of the religious community of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate - the spirit of the Gospel and the rich and ever-resilient Ukrainian Catholic Faith has guided the establishment through the challenge.

Sr. Darleane Pelechaty, SSMI, a director on the board of the Home, has nothing but praise for the entire staff that has really rallied together since the Covid-19 restrictions precluded family members and volunteers from helping out. Family and any other visitors may only visit if it is an "end of life" situation. As far as the pastoral and sacramental needs of the residents is concerned, Fr. Bohdan Lukie, CSsR, who himself is a resident on the campus of the newly expanded Holy Family Home complex, is on hand to provide any requested services. The community of Sisters that maintain their residence at the east end of the campus, are also in the mix of available staff. While the staff of caregivers deals with the basic medical and daily needs of the residents, the Sisters help out with that by, for example, feeding those residents that need assistance. The Sisters also see to recreation, technology and, of course, religious events. The residents, albeit in their own rooms or in smaller common areas in each unit, are able to tune into live-streamed services and prayer events throughout the week.

The outgoing CEO of the Home, Mr. Jean Piché, was very instrumental in overseeing the amazing response to the unexpected crisis. He and his team and his board were right on top of the coronavirus threat from the very beginning. It is notable that Holy Family Home was the first Personal Care Home to implement an effective screening process for anyone entering the Home. In fact, the remaining staff see to this screening 24/7 as essential workers need to come day and night.

Sr. Darleane, says that that she is really "proud of our staff" and because of their immediate and enduring willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty at all levels they have really formed a family bond in the Home.

As heart-wrenching reports come in about various disasters associated with care homes in other parts of the country and internationally, Winnipeg is truly blessed to have a place like Holy Family where they found a way to deal with all the complications and pressure imposed by the pandemic. The staff and sisters truly are Heroes! God willing, when the pandemic passes, we too will be able to express our gratitude to them all for their living the Christian virtues - not least of all: charity, kindness and fortitude!

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