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Truly A Heart Full of MercyJuleWardArticle

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by Jule Ward

For thirty years, our family shared the care of two of our children, Kristin and Johnny, with Misericordia Home. Many treasured memories of our family’s time at Misericordia live in my heart, but the ones I remember best are times when its generosity of spirit lit up like a giant Christmas tree.

In 1985, when we took our son Johnny for his first visit to the school, we shared dinner with a friendly group of fellows in one of the Village Homes.  At the end of dinner, one resident pushed back his chair. “I’d like to stay and have dessert with you,” he said, “but it’s my night to volunteer at the homeless shelter.” His words solidified my instinct that Johnny would find love and empathy among his new housemates.

Some years later, the students at the Learning Center engaged in a geography program which focused deeply on one nation each year. Through their studies, they became aware of hunger in the world. This realization heightened the gratitude they felt for the abundance of care they received at Misericordia and motivated them to help those less favored. With their teachers’ help, they organized an on-campus “Walk for Hunger”. Family and friends pledged funds to support the walk. 

Johnny’s dad remembers that bright, October day as though it happened last week. The residents, staff, and some parents gathered outside the Learning Center. Sister Rosemary gave a rousing opening talk – and then asked the participants to please stay off the grass because landscapers had recently seeded the lawns. 

Johnny’s pace was a slow slouch in the best of times. So, his dad had stationed himself and his son at what he believed to be the end of the line.  But no, at the end of her speech, Sister indicated the direction of the walk and it put Jay and Johnny at the front! For a while, Johnny set the pace, but then Sister broke ranks and walked on the grass to get around him! Soon everyone followed suit. By the time father and son arrived back at the school’s gym, the organizers were putting away the refreshments. That didn’t matter. The spirit of joy and generosity of that day still live in my husband’s stories, which he willingly shares with anyone who will listen.

Neither of us ever gets tired of telling the world how blessed we are to be a part of the Misericordia family.

Note from Jule: I am finishing a final draft of a memoir about Kristy and Johnny’s lives in which Misericordia plays a big role. I also publish a blog post twice a month on my website JuleWardWrites. I invite other Misericordia parents to share their stories with me as guest bloggers. You can write a new story or let me know that I have your permission to republish a story you have already shared with Mis Biz. Here’s my email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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