“Number Twelve”

Apartment 12

We are just about finished cleaning out Apartment #12 in our affordable housing unit.  Lately, we’ve been referring to it as “Judy’s apartment,” as it had been the storage and sorting location for a multitude of items we received which had belonged this deceased woman. 

We found towels, kitchenware, decorations, food items, pillows, blankets, clothing and more!  It is rewarding, after all that work, to see the boxes neatly lined up in the basement for our rummage sale, while those items we had other use for were distributed accordingly.   

Before that, however, Apartment #12 served in a different roles.  For several months, it served as a make-shift sacristy.  Due to Covid precautions, we were not able to have Mass in our chapel.  We were “exiled” (or so it felt) to the apartment wing lobby for the Liturgy.  This vacant apartment was conveniently located right down the hall from our “north valley chapel,” as we’d dubbed the room that was otherwise used for card playing and TV watching. 

This apartment was also used as a vaccine clinic location, offering more privacy than the atrium would have.  (At this time, apartment residents were still unable to come over to the Basic Care unit.)

When recertifications needed to be done for the government in order to ensure residents were still eligible for housing assistance and set their rent, this apartment was used as the “HUD office, where Sr. Rebecca and her assisting staff member could meet with residents and complete their paperwork.

Really, this efficiency apartment has seen a lot in the past twelve months.  We are thankful that it is no longer needed for most of these purposes.

Some of us may never look at this apartment the same again.  Once someone moves in there, we might have to make a conscious effort not to think of it as the sacristy or even “Judy’s apartment!”

A Special Saint

St. Elizabeth Stain glass window.If you look at the stained glass window in the front sitting area at St. Anne’s, you’ll see a lovely depiction of two saints.  One is Saint Francis, and the other is St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Today marks the latter’s feast day.  She is the patron saint of the Third Order of St. Francis, the order to which the Sisters at St. Anne’s belong. 

We thought it would be nice to share a little bit about the history of this stain glass window with you.

Back in the early to mid 1950s, when St. Anne’s was near the river (old St. Michael’s hospital), the Franciscan Sisters had the window installed in the chapel. 

Later, when St. Anne’s moved to its current location, the stained glass windows were placed in the lobby, where they remain to this day.

Cute Pet Photo Contest

The Feast of St. Francis (the patron on animals) is coming up on Monday.

This year, to mark this special day, we’re going to be hosting a “Cutest Pet” contest.

Get your pictures ready, and send them to us. There is no cost to enter.

Funds raised by voting will benefit our ministry to the elderly and disabled at St. Anne’s.

Get your photos in by October 3rd, so we can get them posted for the beginning of the contest on St. Francis Day!

While supporting the important mission here at St. Anne’, your donation also helps your pet of choice on its way to the winners’ circle!

You’re making a difference with your vote!  Click here to enter the portal.


Vote as many times as you like to help your chosen cutest pet win! $1 = 1 vote

Indicate the pet’s name by clicking “Dedicate this Gift.”

You’re welcome to check out our Facebook Event, our look at the cute photos below.


Tips for Better Communication with Hearing Impaired Seniors

Last week at Mass, I was edified to see our visiting priest gesture with his hand, indicating which Eucharistic Prayer he would be using, for the benefit of a hearing impaired individual in our chapel.  This made me think of developing an article, providing tips for better communication with individuals, especially the elderly, who suffer from hearing loss. 

Hearing loss is a very common difficulty.  Even when the person has a hearing aide, make sure you practice good protocols. 

Some seniors, unfortunately, respond to hearing loss by isolating from others.  If we can take some simple, small steps, we can, hopefully, making the communication process easier for them and avoid such isolation.  

Hearing loss, unfortunately, is usually marked not only by loss of hearing volume, but also includes diminished ability to decipher soft sounds and high pitches.  Face the person, with light on your face. Speak slowly and do not shout.  Start conversation on the listener’s name.  Perhaps, touch their hand and make eye contact before starting to speak.  Sitting at a round table can make it easier for the hearing impaired person to lip read with all individuals present.  Make sure they can easily see your face.  Visual clues are very important. 

Make the topic of the conversation as clear as possible.  Shouting and exaggerated speech actually changes one’s lip pattern and makes it harder to lip read.  Use simple sentences and stop in between.  Pausing at appropriate times helps give a hearing impaired individual the chance to catch up on processing what you are saying.

Make sure you are understood.  Stand or sit near their better ear.  Try to eliminate background noise.  Many people with hearing loss don’t tolerate loud sounds well.  Don’t change the subject quickly.  If you need to change topic, make sure you let them know.  Have them repeat things back to you.  Remember that if they are tired or not feeling well, they will have a harder time comprehending. 

Keep your hands away from your face, and don’t have anything else near (food, gum, etc.).  If you are not understood, re-phrase the statement rather than repeating it over and over.  Apps on a phone can convert spoken words into text, and this may be helpful.  Try to make sure only one person speaks at a time.  Ask the hearing impaired person how you can help improved communication. 

Half of individuals over 75 suffer from hearing loss, and one in three between 65 and 74 do likewise. 


  • www.uofazcenteronaging.com/care-sheet/providers/communication-improving-communication-people-who-have-hearing-loss
  • www.allaboutseniorsinc.net/tips-communicating-hearing-impaired-seniors/
  • www.ucsfhealth.org/education/communicating-with-people-with-hearing-loss
  • www.agingcare.com/articles/hearing-loss-communication-techniques-144762.htm
  • www.hearinglink.org/living/partners-children-family-hearing-people/how-to-communicate-with-a-hearing-impaired-person/
  • www.healthyhearing.com/report/51744-Communication-strategies-when-talking-to-individuals-with-hearing-loss
  • my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4050-hearing-loss-tips-to-improve-communication-with-people-with–hearing-loss
  • www.ucsfhealth.org/education/communicating-with-people-with-hearing-loss

The Power of Friendship in the Elderly

card game

We all know that friendship is a wonderful thing in life.  But, did you know that multiple studies support the important role it plays in health and wellbeing as you age?

Friendship and socialization has been linked with enormous health benefits.  On the other hand, being lonely has been compared to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day because of its detriment to your health.  Even people facing serious health defects, who had a good network of friends, did well physically compared to others who lacked socialization. 

Friendship can even boost your immune system!  Good sleep and heart health are also facilitated by friendship.

Friendship has an added benefit in that people around you can help encourage you in healthy habits, such as exercise.

Having a close friend is powerful in fighting stress and depression, according to MissouriFamilies.org.   Strength of social bonds even in other primates, has been seen to be a leading factor in longevity. 

In a study of almost 300,000 people, friends were found to be even more important than family in well-being and functioning.  Friendship is a powerful impetus for good in the sphere of both physical and mental health.  Strain in friendship has been found to lead to impaired health.  Feelings of loneliness, on the other hand, can increase with age.  It’s even said that the importance of friendship grows as you get older.

It is sometimes difficult for elderly people to make friends.  They are often not as able to get out and about, and sometimes face disabilities that place limits on them.  At the same time, it is well-known that reduced social contact is harmful.  However, this is often overlooked in circumstances when elderly people live alone at home.  Physical contact is so important.  If you have a loved one who struggles with loneliness, remember the importance of physical contact.  Outings are also helpful in lifting mood.  Prolonged solitude can be detrimental.

Friends provide support that even family members may not be able to give.  They may be going through a similar difficulty, dealing with there age-related limitations.  They can relate with you in a special way, unlike adult children who have not yet gone through the aging process as you are.  Additionally, an older person can gain from wisdom and insight a friend in their own peer group can offer.

It has been found that friendships are more effective in wellbeing among the elderly even than close family!  For one thing, younger family members are often busy with their own lives and have limited time to devote to an aging parent or relative. 


Getting Corny: Tips for Blanching Corn

Who doesn’t love a tasty ear of corn, fresh from the field?  It can be a little messy, but boy, is it worth it!

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to keep that tasty goodness throughout the year?  Actually, in a way, you can!

While some people like to take the quick and easy way out and freeze ears of corn whole, blanching and cutting corn off the cob has some definite benefits.

There’s kind of a science to it, and it works better if you have your system ready.  I was reminded of that recently, when we got a pickup truck load of corn in last week.  The Wald family from East Grand Forks always generously plants a section of their land in sweet corn for us.  Mid-August, we have come to expect a phone call say that the corn is ready, and asking when they can bring it in. 

We used to usually bag the corn raw on the ear, and freeze it that way.  This year, we went a different route.  Many of our residents have dentures and have trouble eating it off the cob.  Also, cutting it off the cob saves a lot of freezer space!  Blanching kills enzymes that diminish corn quality over time in the freezer, so that’s what I did.

In this blog, I’ll share some things I’ve learned from reading, experience, and even insight from others, in case you’ve got some extra corn you’d like to put up for winter enjoyment.

When I was a kid, our family friends on a farm south of us had an abundance of corn to salvage.  We picked a bunch and formed an assembly line: husking, blanching, and cutting it from the cobs.  I remember my mom putting the kettles in the bathtub of cold water to cool!

Fast forward quite a few years…(and yes, I have done corn in the meantime!)

Last week, we got all the corn husked and de-haired by around 10 in the morning.  Beforehand, I marked several zip baggies: “Corn – 8-16-21, so I could save time and hassle later. 

I got two big kettles of water boiling and added several ears (about 8 or 9) of corn to each one.  I am learning that I maybe shouldn’t do so much corn at a time because it took a while to return to boiling.  Once it was rapidly boiling again, though, I timed it for 3-4 minutes before turning off the burner and putting the ears into an ice bath I had prepared. 

The ice tended to melt quickly, unfortunately, because it was crushed ice from the kitchen.  I had to make multiple trips back and forth for fresh ice during my corn blanching marathon.  I kept dumpling and refilling a large plastic bin we have on hand for bussing dishes.

After the fact, a friend of ours said that she used to fill cardboard milk cartons with water to freeze for this purpose.  I’m going to try this next time!  Larger ice chunks won’t melt so quickly.  The purpose of the ice water bath it to stop the cooking process on the corn that has been removed from the blanching kettle.  Another idea I found is to fill plastic bags with water and freeze them.  I’m trying this also.  This should make my life easier tomorrow when I attack another batch of corn that came in. 

Now, for the cutting process!  A trick I have found very helpful, which our former activity assistant told us about, is resting your ear of corn on the middle of an angel food cake pan, and cutting the corn off that way.  It really works slick!  Another person who was helping us last time used an electric knife to cut off the corn.  This worked well for her. 

After we got a bunch of corn cut off, I would scoop it into gallon sized double seal freezer bags, and seal, trying to push as much air out as possible.  It was kind of juicy, and I also avoided getting excess fluid in there.

I read somewhere that you can create more of a vacuum seal by submerging the bag in a bowl of water with just a small space in the zipper unsealed.     This didn’t work well for me, though, because the bags, filled with corn, were more bulky than flat.  Tomorrow, I might try and see if I can’t flatten the filled bags out more. 

Most people don’t freeze corn in gallon size bags, but when you’re serving 30-40 people at a time, it makes sense. 

If you’re doing smaller bags, a trick one can try is freezing them flat on a cookie sheet, which saves space later.  You can just take them off the cookie sheet once they’re frozen and put them in a plastic grocery bag. 

One thing to keep in mind when freezing corn is not to put too much in a small freezer at once, as the freezer will be overworked. 

I hope some of this is helpful to you if you decide to get corny this summer!

A Shocking Experience

Annie’s Anticks – Episode 2:

Listen as Sister Elaine shares a story of one evening when she was filling in for one of the other Sisters at St. Anne’s, doing aide work.