Blessings, gratitude, and connections were the three themes the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ centered its celebrations around for the centennial anniversary of its presence in Donaldson on Sunday, May 21. The event had ice cream, face painting, and other festivities to celebrate the occasion.
“The cornerstone was laid in 1920,” said Sister Deborah Davis. “The building started in 1918 and it's a five-story building. We chose this weekend because the dedication of the Motherhouse was 100 years ago on May 24.”
Prior to moving to Donaldson, the Poor Handmaids lived in Fort Wayne. They worked at St. Joseph Hospital and were living in tight spaces.
“Our Sisters’ space was so tight that sometimes, when the Sisters would come home from work, a patient would actually be in her bed,” said Sister Davis. “There was a patient in one of our hospitals in Chicago who was trying to sell this resort because of the prohibition.”
The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ would buy the Donaldson resort which would become the location for the Motherhouse and their campus. The campus now includes three other ministries of the Poor Handmaids including, Maria Center Inc., MoonTree Studios, and Lindenwood Retreat & Conference Center.
“We really wanted to make our neighbors and community feel welcome,” said Director of Communications at the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Alicia Hammonds. “We did everything we could to try to have family activities to make everyone feel welcome including something for children, something for adults, and something for all of our neighbors around us.”
In August, a committee started planning for the centennial anniversary celebration. People from different vocations came to help plan the event.
“We had more than 20 people on the planning committee and they've been planning it for well over a year,” said Sister Deb Davis, PHJC. “We've been planning this every month, and we had ideas that grew and grew for the whole weekend. Eventually we narrowed it down.”
Sunday was a happy conclusion to months of hard work by everyone involved. There was mass prior to the festivities that included face painting, balloons, and Poor Handmaids’ storytelling.
“It was just wonderful,” said Planning Committee Member Sandy Garrison. “We love the collaboration and are excited to say everything turned out beautiful today.”
The end result was a celebration that included mass and festivities outside of the Motherhouse. The festivities had people who had been to The Center at Donaldson before, and those who had not been to the campus.
“It’s a great environment and we’re happy to be here,” said Gianna Violet-Burke of Schererville. “I came because my dad's girlfriend's mom lived here for three years, and I was ready to come, so I thought that'd be really fun to do.”
“It is great to be able to bring my family here and let them run around,” said Hammonds. “They get to have some fun and get to know the Poor Handmaids. I love that I can share a place where I spend a lot of time with everybody that I love.”
For more information about the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and its ministries, please go to poorhandmaids.org.