Profile in Ministry: Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Administration & Pastoral Care, Jennings Center, Garfield Heights, OH

Profile in Ministry: Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Administration & Pastoral Care, Jennings Center, Garfield Heights, OH

As Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings Center for Older Adults, I experience God’s goodness and provident care in a very real way every day. My role is the perfect blend of administrative work and pastoral care, and uses many of my personal gifts and past experiences. I prepare education sessions for our board of directors, speak about our history and mission to new staff members, plan staff retreats, serve refreshments at monthly Happy Hours, play the piano or guitar at daily liturgies, lead a weekly Scripture Sharing session in Assisted Living, visit residents and patients for individual spiritual support, and so much more.  I love getting to know our residents, their families, and our staff members.

From the time I was a little girl I’ve had a love for the elderly, whether visiting my grandparents or playing Chinese checkers with the older couple who lived next door. When my mom developed Alzheimer’s I felt comfortable spending time with her and the other residents in the nursing home. I was blessed to be with both of my parents when they died. All these experiences led me to my present ministry. Each day the residents at Jennings teach me about courage, compassion, and humor in the face of challenges. I am blessed to walk the journey with them.