I have had the opportunity to be involved with the Avila Institute of Gerontology for a number of years now. I make every effort to attend the annual fall conference. I find the content to be very informative and the caliber of presenters to be equal to or exceed conferences that are much more expensive.
In addition to the fall conferences I had to opportunity to participate in the Geriatric Spiritual Care Certificate Program. I am a layperson and a Nursing Home Administrator. I found the information to be very valuable in my role as an Administrator as well as an active member of my parish.
Additionally I have found this Community founded by Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCory, O.Carm truly living and sharing the charism of their founder of which I have been deeply affected in my own spiritual journey.
I highly recommend anyone who is considering attending one of the educational programs offered by Avila to do so. They will be extremely pleased with the experience.
My participation in the Geriatric Spiritual Care Program, at Avila Institute, was truly a gift. Initially, my primary intent for participation was to allow myself an opportunity for personal discernment and exploration of opportunities / needs within the elderly population, and match them to my future aspirations and goals in life. Without a doubt, these objectives were met; however, along the way, I received many other significant, unexpected “gifts”.
By participating in the Geriatric Spiritual Care program, I feel that my own spirituality has been strengthened and renewed. Learning more about myself, my relationships with others, and my relationship with God, has made this course a priceless experience. I developed a deeper appreciation for the Eucharist, along with a renewed focus on the value of scripture and prayer in my daily life. It is my hope that my new awareness and understanding of the course content will not only benefit my work with the elderly, but improve all aspects of my life’s work and relationships.
In this program lay and religious participants and faculty share in the learning process, offering an invaluable opportunity to learn and listen to each other. Sharing in common values and having a strong commitment to our ministries with the elderly, we each offer unique perspectives based on our individual experiences and backgrounds. Our class truly enjoyed being together and, by the end of the course, had formed a strong bond of friendship and support. The format of the Geriatric Spiritual Care course was wonderful! How appropriate to spend the first half of the course in an academic, class-like setting, only to be followed by the week of clinical hands-on training at the Teresian House in Albany. Our graduation ceremony, held in the chapel of the Carmelite Sisters’ motherhouse in Germantown, NY, was simply beautiful.
In the presence of the Carmelite sisters of the community, the faculty of the program, and our invited family and friends, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everyone’s prayers, love and support. As our beautifully wrapped course certificates were presented to us, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the “gift” this course had been in my own life, and those of my classmates.
Although I cannot yet answer “what’s next”, I am at peace in trusting that again, He will lead, and if I follow, I will not be disappointed. Perhaps the greatest gift of all, lies ahead, as we each uniquely say “yes” to share our skills and love with the elderly to whom we will serve.