By Ed and Nan Weber
In 1992, we founded the Holy Family Ministry Center “for the Renewal and Restoration of the Family and Catholic Family Life through the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.” An acute awareness of the growing disintegration of the family in American society became a passionate call and work in our lives. It was in this ministry that we realized that the growing lack of respect for human life at its beginning was spilling over to those at the end of life.
The value of each member of the family, as a vital person created by God with a mission, bringing unique gifts, talents, experience, and wisdom to that group, has been lost in today’s language, which is more focused on “I” and “me” than on “you” and “us”. Ed always told our children, “Ask first ‘How can I serve you?'”
In 1999, we came to realize that it wasn’t enough to work solely to preserve the lives of God’s children at the beginning of life. God inspired us to reach out to serve the elderly, sick, and terminally ill. And, in due time, Loreto on the Plains Personal Care Home became the fruit from that first seed of an idea. Loreto is located in Hartley, Texas and is a “Respect Life Care Home for the Sick and Terminally Ill where the sacredness of every human life is respected and protected.” However, we know that this idea is not just for little Hartley, Texas, population 400. All across America there is a need for homes like Loreto on the Plains.
Homes of Life Across America is simply about this attitude: “How can I serve you? How can I make you more comfortable?” Phrases like these are heard in homes where the elderly are revered and caring for the sick and terminally ill is seen as our opportunity to give back. At the same time, from those we serve we gain wisdom, encouragement, stories of earlier times, lessons in faith, and a relationship with God that will last a lifetime.
We envision these Homes of Life being modeled after Loreto on the Plains, as undocumented homes where up to three unrelated persons live with a family to be cared for and loved. These homes will be a new pathway for care for those in harm’s way due to the current culture of death that has permeated society and medicine, a culture which views certain people as less valuable simply because they need care and are no longer “productive.”
Homes of Life are simply homes in which loving people desire the privilege of serving those in need of tender care and attention. Each such home will be like a family. We know from experience that a loving, welcoming, and (to borrow a word from today’s world) inclusive environment improves our resident patients’ lives and adds months and even years to their lives.
It is unnatural to be in an institution, but very natural to be at home.
Homemade meals and sharing around the table at mealtime is a focus for us, as we are family. Other activities give life and happiness to our residents, such as birthday parties, playing games together at home, going to basketball games at the local school and, when we are able, taking everyone to a favorite restaurant. Each resident has their own room and has privacy and quiet when desired, especially at nap time or bed time.
You see, Homes of Life are exactly that–homes of life!
We are happy to talk by phone with anyone interested in joining the Homes of Life Across America movement. Get your questions together and call 806-361-5097 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will get back to you with the answers. Visits to Loreto on the Plains PCH can be arranged as well. Visitors participate in and experience the routine and the life in the Care Home. The Loreto Team is here to help you. If it would help for us to visit with a group of people who are interested in opening their homes or creating a home, we can arrange that. Please call your friends and organize a group meeting in your home or a neighborhood center, or hold a workshop or conference. We also recommend our website www.homesoflife.net, where you can take a peek at us and what we do. We believe the Homes of Life Across America movement is an urgent matter of health and life for the elderly, sick, and terminally ill children of God. Contact us today.