Catherine Kasper Life Center

A Ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

Kindness, One Stitch at a Time

Linda Jung-Zimmerman

For Maria Center resident Fannie Green, sewing is a way of life. She began sewing as a five year-old girl, when her Mom would let her cut out and hand stitch doll clothes while she got her own projects done. “She had to do something to get me out of her way,” Fannie laughed. While her children were growing up, Fannie sewed outfits for her daughters, which they wore throughout high school. “They always enjoyed wearing them, because they were different from what everybody else wore,” she said.

Fannie’s most recent project is sure to brighten the lives of the little girls in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Also a lifelong collector of fabric, she used just a small stash of her colorful fabric collection to sew ruffled jumper dresses for the girls who the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Sisters minister to. “I have two daughters,” Fannie said. “There’s nothing a little girl enjoys more than a new dress.” In talking with the Sisters, Fannie learned that her colorful creations might be the first new dresses some of the little ladies will wear. “The hunger is astounding too,” she said. “We don’t know what it’s like to do without. Since I can sew, that’s something I can do to make the world a little brighter for someone else,” she added.

Fannie hopes her dresses will create ripples of generosity, inspiring others to do what they can to help those in need, whether it’s in Mexico, Africa, or locally. “Everyone has a gift, something they can offer,” she said as she presented her gorgeous, ruffled dresses to Sisters Jean Christianson and Toni Garcia, who will give them to the families they minister to upon their return to Mexico. Later, Fannie wants to dip back into her fabric collection and try her hand at making backpacks for the older children in Mexico.

A Son’s Remembrance

“During her last year at Catherine Kasper (Home) she was the happiest and most contented she had been in the last fifteen years of her life. The Sisters, residents, and staff at Catherine Kasper opened their hearts to her and offered her love and friendship. Her son is deeply grateful for the care that she received and wishes all to know that our Lord has used them as angels of mercy and love, not only in the life of his mother but in his as well.”

These remembrances, published in the Plymouth Pilot obituary of his Mother, Lucille, are by Curt Heydt, Lucille’s son, as he reflected on her life at the Catherine Kasper Home in Donaldson. Part of The Center at Donaldson, and a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, the Catherine Kasper Home provides continuing care, comfort and dignity to seniors as they journey through life. Inspired by the presence of God, and in the spirit of our Foundress, Blessed Catherine Kasper, Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ Sisters, co-workers and fellow residents of the Catherine Kasper Life Center circle one another in kindness, care, and community. Life is respected and rejoiced at all stages.

If you’re looking for a caring, spiritual home for your loved one, call us for a tour today, 574-935-1742 or

Lukenbill to Speak at Catherine Kasper Life Center on Elder Law

Elder Law Presentation

May is National Elder Law Month. To that end, the Catherine Kasper Life Center, a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ at The Center at Donaldson, presents a discussion of elder law topics with Adam Lukenbill, attorney at law on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. EDT in the Kasper Room at the Catherine Kasper Home, 9601 Union Road, Donaldson, Indiana.

Mr. Lukenbill will speak on a variety of subjects important to seniors and their families and caregivers regarding their legal rights. Topics he’ll speak about that evening include, Advance Directives, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Guardianship, Estate Planning and the Medicaid application process.

Mr. Lukenbill specializes in elder law, including estate planning, estate and trust administration, asset protection, long-term nursing home planning, and the protection of beneficiaries with special needs. A 2003 graduate of Purdue University and a 2007 graduate of Indiana University Mauer School of Law, he also serves on the board of directors of Ancilla College, is vice president of both the Marshall County Council on Aging and the Marshall County Bar Association and is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law. He is a partner at Lukenbill & Lukenbill, LLP in Plymouth.

Please join us for this important, informative evening.

For more information, please call Crystal Bower, Social Services Coordinator, at 574-935-1795.

The Real Scoop on Maria Center

Linda Jung-Zimmerman

By Linda Jung-Zimmerman,
Maria Center Director

When I told some residents I was writing a report to the board of directors they said: “Tell them we are happy”. That is a story I will gladly tell.

The story of Maria Center is the story of a group of seniors living into community. This means staff and residents working daily to maximize the gifts of all and continuing to present viable life giving opportunities for all. This is accomplished by serving as a Maria Center ambassador, or as a mentor to a new resident. We feed the birds, tend the garden, work in the greenhouse, care for dogs and sort and deliver the mail. Staff and residents work together daily to address the needs of our residents and their families to ensure quality of life and holistic experiences in a beautiful and comforting home environment.

This means supporting one another in times of illness, loneliness and death. We accompany our residents to doctor’s appointments and emergency room visits. We visit each other in the hospital or in rehabilitation. Staff works integrally with families to assure best care and placement of a family member. We continue to support our families even after a loved one has passed away. Several children of former residents continue their relationships with Maria Center by visiting and volunteering. Mary Jo taught “quilling” to our residents last week. Mary Ann celebrates birthdays with us with her delicious and exquisitely decorated cookies. Claudia stayed in our new guest apartment and hung out with residents. We celebrate and bless each resident with a “friendship” gathering as they transition to Catherine Kasper Home, pledging our on-going prayers and support. We visit our former residents at Catherine Kasper Home and regularly visit the memory unit.

We care for and watch out for each other. Doris knows when Joe does not come down for breakfast and is at his door in a flash. Fannie assists a resident who has poor eyesight with phone calls. Pauline loans her rollator to Ed who is feeling unsteady since his pneumonia. Residents are never surprised when staff is at their door.

When I first came to Maria Center I remember thinking how much this group of residents reminded me of a family. Sometimes they squabble with one another like siblings. But make no mistake, no one from the outside can utter an unkind word or come between them. That sounds like family to me.

We work to recognize the needs of our residents who are “aging in place”. We do this by offering additional services and now by individualizing those services through an a la carte service menu. We believe this is a critical need of our residents that needs to grow even more.

Maria Center residents are involved in decision making through such things as a food committee, lobby committee, activity planning group and monthly resident meetings.

We celebrate each day that is given to us with gratitude. We do this by celebrating life events, like birthdays, playing cards, working on jigsaw puzzles and sitting together around the fire chatting. We scout out bakeries for treats on every excursion and generally work on “having fun” wherever we find ourselves.

We pray and grow with one another through group prayer and on-going spiritual formation opportunities. Through our prayer we celebrate life and we celebrate death.

Part of being community means inviting others into the circle. Our co-workers enjoy spending time with residents in the lobby and working on the jigsaw puzzles. Our residents often share activities with the sisters including monthly socials and outings. We also are continuing to offer intergenerational activities with Ancilla College through our “Saging” program and activities like Christmas caroling at the Residence Hall. We also volunteer at Moontree Studios.

We are excited about our new partnership with Linden House, Mishawaka and South Bend Civic Theatre. All enjoyed our first outing to see The Music Man at South Bend Civic Theatre. We enjoyed treats and conversation prior to the show made by Earthworks Market. We offered free transportation to the folks at Linden House because they do not have access to a bus.

In all we do, we attempt to be mission focused, respecting each individual, building community and finding ways to give of ourselves to our hurting world; living tenderly and walking with our God. We are blessed!

“This is all God asks of us; to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God”

Rehabilitation at Catherine Kasper Home

Rehabilitation at Catherine Kasper Home

Joe Coury, 93, moved to Maria Center after six weeks of rehabbing a foot wound at Catherine Kasper Home. The Wheeling, West Virginia native and father of three daughters arrived in Plymouth in 1956 after graduating from Harvard Business School, serving in the US Navy in WWII and Korea, and working in California and Florida. He had a long career in the aluminum manufacturing industry and retired in 1986. He lost his wife of 75 years in April 2015.

In October 2015, Joe noticed his right shoe getting tighter and tighter. He knew he was long past the stage of foot growth. His daughter called the ambulance when he told her about his foot swelling and she subsequently discovered the wound. After a four-day hospital stay, he moved to Catherine Kasper Home for further recuperation and physical therapy.

Once a week, he returned to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Plymouth for additional treatment, which including IV antibiotics. At CKH, Joe worked hard at physical therapy with Maynard Utadye, who Joe describes as extremely professional and very hard working. Since the wound impaired his ability to walk, he’s been progressively learning how again. Joe’s ultimate goal is to fully walk again. Currently, he gets around by scooter for longer distances, and walking with the help of a walker. He doesn’t know if he’ll make it, but he has hope. He thinks losing a little weight will help. Another complication is that one of his legs is shorter than the other since he’s had both knees replaced. He also appreciated the care, kindness and professionalism of the nursing staff, especially Amanda Williams.

“Oh yes,” was Joe’s response when asked if he’d recommend CKH to others in need of their services. “They’re very professional,” he added. He also appreciated the opportunity to attend Catholic Mass everyday at CKH. The spiritual care he received, including daily visits from the resident Sisters, was as important to him as the physical care he received at Catherine Kasper Home.

Meet Carol McGuigan, Catherine Kasper Home’s new Executive Director

Catherine Kasper Home Executive Director Carol McGuigan

It’s the Poor Handmaids effect. “They bring an atmosphere to all their ministries,” said new Catherine Kasper Home Executive Director Carol McGuigan. “The Sisters’ presence really makes the difference. It’s in their hearts. I know it, and so does God,” she added.

Sister Judith Diltz, PHJC made the announcement in early January 2016. Carol had previously served as Interim Executive Director at CKH.

A Fort Wayne native, Carol graduated from St. Francis University in Fort Wayne with Master’s Degrees in Psychology and Medical Technology. She has undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Business Administration as well, but she says her most intensive training comes on the job. “The residents have given me the best training I’ve ever had. There isn’t any job that’s more important than another,” she says. A leader more than a boss, Carol feels that all co-workers can give respect, dignity and attention to detail.

In addition to interim leadership positions at several other Indiana facilities, Carol has been the director of both DeKalb Health Center in DeKalb County, Indiana, and Englewood Health Center in Fort Wayne.

Carol’s goal is to increase community awareness about the ministry of Catherine Kasper Home in the area, even in these challenging financial times. “It’s a challenge to make the government realize that to take care of people well, we need more money than they’re willing to give,” (through Medicare payments) she said.

Carol’s been married for over 40 years to her husband, Kevin. They have two sons, one daughter and three grandchildren. Her hobbies include gardening, fishing, and hiking and spending time outdoors.

You are cordially invited to visit our community for a tour and more information about the services we provide. We at Catherine Kasper Life Center look forward to welcoming you.

For more information, please contact:
(574) 935-1742
Catherine Kasper Life Center Inc
P.O. Box 1; 9601 Union Road
Donaldson, IN 46513
Catherine Kasper Life Center is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.
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