Mission and Ministry Matters

by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Chief Mission Leader at Jennings

For the past several months I have been writing about end of life decisions. Those are some heavy topics (but important ones) to consider. I thought I would end the calendar year with some reflections about life and relationships. Most of them I have absorbed through personal experience. The last one is attributed to Abraham Lincoln. If you look below the surface of these truths you will find Jennings’ five core values: Respect, Compassion, Community, Discovery of Potential, and Celebration of Life.

Some Simple Truths About Life and Relationships (In No Particular Order):

  • The only person I can change or control is myself.
  • I can’t make assumptions about other people’s reasons for what they do.
  • I can try to assume a positive reason about why people do things unless they specifically tell me otherwise.
  • FAMILY is a fundamental value in life, whatever shape it takes.
  • Life is too short to hold grudges.
  • I can try to nurture positive relationships by encouraging, complimenting, and appreciating others.
  • Sometimes it’s better to say nothing instead of speaking in haste or anger. I can always continue a conversation later when I am calmer.
  • All my life experiences make me who I am.
  • Life can make me better or bitter. Which do I want to be?
  • Everyone is hurting in some way and needs our compassion.
  • Often people will treat me the way I treat them.
  • Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. (Abraham Lincoln)

Can you think of any truths that you would like to add to the list?



Mission and Ministry Matters

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

in News

Have you ever thought about dying? Have you imagined how you would like your final days to be? Thinking about your death may not be your first choice of things to do, but it is an important one. Life is fragile, and none of us knows how long we will live. One concrete thing we can do to prepare is decide what type of care we would like at the end of our life, and let others know about it ahead of time. In this article and next month’s I would like to consider the importance of end of life decisions.

In a message to participants in the World Medical Association’s 2018 European Meeting on End-of-Life Questions, Pope Francis said that when it comes to end-of-life care, treatments should always be based on human dignity with the person’s best interests in mind. He stressed that the medical options provided must avoid the temptation either to euthanize a patient or to pursue disproportionate treatments that do not serve the integral good of the person. He pointed to the importance of palliative care, “which is proving most important in our culture, as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome – pain and loneliness.”

Here at Jennings we have supported people at the end of their lives for seventy-six years. We believe that human life is sacred, but not absolute. Death is an inevitable and natural part of life. As Pope Francis said, we are here to support people in their final days and hours. Our own Jennings Hospice carries out that mission in a most beautiful and caring way. The most helpful way each person can prepare for their journey from this life to the next is to consider the kind of care they would like to receive at that time, and express their wishes formally by completing the Advance Directives, to inform their family, friends, and health care professionals. Next month we will consider the importance of the Advance Directives in setting the stage for the final act of our lives on earth!


Mission and Ministry Matters is written by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Chief Mission Officer at Jennings





Mission and Ministry Matters:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We’re all looking for words of wisdom to help us live each day well. Jennings Director of Mission and Ministry Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND provided quotes by the Dalai Lama, which go from A to Z with powerful suggestions for self-improvement. You might want to take one line a day to reflect on and integrate it [more…]

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Mission and Ministry Matters: Core Values

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jennings recently revealed its new mission statement: “Rooted in Catholic values, Jennings celebrates and nurtures individuals as they age, through exceptional choices and continuous innovation.” This month Jennings Director of Mission and Ministry Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND considers the five core values that support our mission statement.
In fulfilling our mission, we commit ourselves to these values: [more…]

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Jennings unveils new mission statement

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Jennings has unveiled a new mission statement, which was developed through an intense process of input and creativity.
Our new mission statement reads: “Rooted in Catholic values, Jennings nurtures and celebrates individuals as they age, through exceptional choices and continuous innovation.”
Jennings’ goal in writing this statement was to be clear and concise while incorporating the concepts that [more…]

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Mission and Ministry Matters: Ethical and Religious Directives

Monday, February 6, 2017

(by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings)—You may know that Jennings is a Catholic organization, which is the foundation of our identity and mission. You may not be familiar with the document that helps to define and safeguard our Catholic mission.“The Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care Services” (ERDs) [more…]

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Mission and Ministry Matters: Starting the new year

Sunday, January 1, 2017

As we start the New Year, let’s take a look at the gift of laughter. It has been said that “laughter is the best medicine.” Have you ever wondered why? Helen Hunter, LSW has written an article on the benefits of laughter. She notes that laughter boosts the immune system and triggers the release of [more…]

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Mission and Ministry Matters

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

In the days of the early American pioneers we see a wonderful example of community. Each night when the pioneers stopped to camp, they would “circle the wagons.” Circling the wagons created a safe space. Camp fires could be built in the middle of the circle. Children could play safely without fear of getting lost. [more…]

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Mission and Ministry Matters: February

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

At the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 the sport of canoe racing was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.
As the time for the Olympics neared, [more…]

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Mission and Ministry Matters: Reminiscing

Monday, October 5, 2015

Uncle Joe recalls the good old days when a Ford coupe was $500, gasoline cost 19 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was three cents, and penny candy was a treat. Grandma Millie tells stories about growing up on the farm and walking three miles to school every day… Everyone frequently reminisces and reviews life. [more…]

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