Before diving too deep into the heart of this post, we’d first like to give a special “Thank you” to all those who have served our country or died in action while fighting for our freedom. At St. Anthony’s retirement home, we’ve been honored to host and live alongside MANY veterans and we always want to make it a point to honor their lives when we can. But after the last few weeks, with the escalated war and conflict in Ukraine, we are feeling especially grateful to live and work in a country where our freedom has been won. In a similar vein, we are truly praying for God to do miraculous works in Ukraine, Europe, and beyond that might glorify His name above all the evil things going on in our world.
This leads to today’s words on the difference a faith-based retirement home makes. One of the reasons we are explicit in our foundational beliefs is because we feel like a lot of organizations and institutions in America have become pretty “watered down” in regard to their faith-based mission.
In fact, do you know or recall any part of Harvard University’s mission statement? Here is the school’s official mission statement from the year 1636:
“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”
Staying On Course as a Faith-Based Retirement Home
Although we highlight one of the oldest, most renowned institutions in America, Harvard University (whose current mission statement isn’t quite that direct), we know that countless businesses and organizations eventually stray from what got them into their good work in the first place. We like to think of the analogy of a ship (and its captain and crew) sailing the ocean blue, headed for a specific destination. If that crew, led by the captain, veer slightly off course for an extended period of time, they will land in the furthest place from their original destination.
Note: This analogy often alludes to “1 degree off.” In a common example, if a plane and its crew were flying from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and were off course by just one degree, the plane would land in Baltimore.
Therefore, it’s imperative that our leadership and staff come back to our core mission statement often: With a servant’s heart, we are here to enrich the lives of those who have pioneered our past. Guided by the Holy Spirit, our mission is to ensure residents live an active lifestyle with purpose and peace of mind.
Simply put, our mission is to love and serve others with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God is the one we trust to keep our ship straight, but the only way we can ensure that is 1) if we keep one another accountable as a staff and 2) if our residents and their families affirm us we are on track to complete that mission.
Power in a Community for Christ
That’s right, both of those indicators—accountability as a staff and affirmation from our people—are how we know we are on course to complete the mission God gave us at St. Anthony’s. It is a race we are grateful to run, and a race we get excited to wake up to every day. We absolutely LOVE our jobs (if you could call it a “job”) because living alongside these incredible men and women is just so much fun. The joy of the Lord is truly present in this place!
So what’s the core differentiator in a faith-based retirement home? We might have just gotten close: joy. But although our people (staff and residents) are some of the most joyful people we know, we also know that everyone has bad days. To say that every day is going to be 100% rainbows and butterflies is wrong because of course there are some hard and lonely days here and there—that much is true for everyone. In fact, it’s because of some hard days that make the journey (and joy!) experienced in the end so worth it.
Therefore, what do we point to as the real faith-based retirement home difference? In a word, we believe that “Trust” is the core factor that sets us apart from the rest.
Because of our belief in God leading the way, we trust that He makes known to us the path of care and kindness each day (Psalm 16:11). We trust one another, as a staff, to do his or her job each day. Similar to a football team, if just one person of the 11 starters doesn’t do their job, the play will fail. And because families trust us with their family member’s health and care, we carry out our tasks and assignments daily because there is SO MUCH more at stake than a job. A high-quality, faith-based retirement home isn’t about a job and the end consumer. A high-quality, faith-based retirement home is about stewarding trusting relationships with children of God. And that’s a statement we plan on sticking by for hundreds of years to come.