Sister Rosemary has for some time encouraged all of us to make sure that our state representatives and senators take a tour of Misericordia. Last Friday,

 I participated in a tour taken by State Senator Michael Connelly and State Representatives John Anthony and Ron Sandack. Also on the tour were Senator Connelly’s Chief of Staff, Trish Cooke, and Representative Grant Wehrle’s District Office Director, Maureen Juhas. The tour was arranged by the Bozek family, whose daughter has lived at Misericordia for 11 years. It was an amazing experience. I was able to see with my own eyes the huge impact a tour has on our state legislators and their staff. Senator Connelly is a member of the Misericordia Advisory Board so he is very familiar with Misericordia. But for Representatives Anthony and Sandack and the others on the tour, this was their first visit to Misericordia. It is an understatement to say that we now have several new friends in very important positions.

Kevin Connelly led the tour. We started by visiting the Art Department. Everyone was amazed by the artistry of our residents. All admitted they could not come close to matching the residents’ painting skills. We then visited Misericordia’s coffee production and bakery, where the legislators could see our residents hard at work and learning important work skills. A number of residents explained the jobs they were doing. This gave me the opportunity to speak individually with each of the legislators, telling them that the “Employment First” proponents want to close these work opportunities because they are not jobs “in the community.” All the legislators were appalled at the thought that these types of work opportunities would be closed.

Kevin then took the group to the McCauley Skilled Nursing Facility, showing them the therapy pool, sensory room and store. In each spot, our group was introduced to the residents receiving therapy and our dedicated staff. We also showed the legislators one of the Mercy Glen homes. After seeing all of this, Ms. Juhas, Rep. Wehrle’s District Office Director, told me that she had heard about Misericordia, but she could not imagine how amazing it is without seeing it with her own eyes. I told her that the beautiful physical surroundings do not tell even a small part of our story. She whole heartedly agreed; commenting that she could see the loving care that our staff provides to each of our residents.

On the bus, as we toured the campus, we had the opportunity to discuss with the legislators and their staff our proposed legislation for a continuum of care license. We described how the license would make it easier for Misericordia to transfer residents from one setting to another as their needs change. After seeing all that our campus has to offer, the legislators could readily see what we were talking about and why the proposed legislation is so important. We were also able to make the point that, again, the “Community Living” proponents want to close Misericordia because it is a campus setting rather than small homes “in the community,” even though Misericordia is the choice of over 600 families and another 350 on our waiting list. The legislators shook their heads in disbelief. They saw with their own eyes that Misericordia is, indeed, a community.

Of course, we finished the tour with lunch at the Greenhouse Inn. Each legislator and staff person was given a goodie bag of bakery items to take home with them. (The rest of us were left having buy our own bakery items. J) The energy at the lunch following the tour was truly amazing. Everyone was talking about what they had seen and wanted to know more about the history of Misericordia and the great care it provides. Each legislator asked how they could help Misericordia. Senator Connelly vowed to get 40 to 50 senators to sponsor our continuum of care licensing bill.

This firsthand experience convinced me that we must make sure that every state representative and state senator, along with other state and federal officials has the opportunity to tour Misericordia. It is the best way to ensure that our family members continue to have the quality of life that only Misericordia can offer.

As a reminder, every Sunday, in the MFA Announcements that you receive by email, you will see which government officials have toured Misericordia. The Announcements also includes a link to the Board of Elections website which allows you to easily determine who your legislators are. You can then see if your legislators have toured Misericordia. If they have not, I strongly encourage you to contact them and offer to accompany them on a tour. If you need any assistance in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I am happy to help you make the arrangements, but legislators react much more favorably to requests from a constituent.