‘Fine Young Men’ Stories of the Past

Lourdes Home for the Aged was the place to be on 18th July, as the 2012 Telling Their Story Project reached its culmination. In addition to the Yr 12 St Mary’s students and the residents whose lives have been the basis of this year’s project, in attendance were newly ordained Bishop Robert McGuckin, members of the Lourdes Board, SMC Principal, Mr Michael Newman and Lourdes Centre Care Manager, Mary-Anne McKenzie.

The Telling Their Story project is an annual collaboration between Lourdes Home for the Aged and St Mary’s College, involving seven residents and a class of 21 Year 12 Religion & Ethics students. The students are studying a unit of work that considers personal origins, ways in which early life experiences shape us and the meaning of life.  At 17 years old, most of the students don’t have a lot of life experience to draw on so, in conjunction with the Diversional Therapists at Lourdes, they have accessed the wisdom of our elders.  The boys are charged with the task of creating a DVD presentation of their ‘findings’ and spend several weeks interviewing and recording their resident. In the culminating celebration, residents and their families were presented with copies of their DVDs, a wonderful record of their participation in the program and a memento for their families.

The residents enjoy the opportunity to meet with the boys each week, to tell their stories and to share their observations on life and living with purpose. The residents involved this year were Nino Marchetti, Bessie Winning, Eileen Cosgrove, Margaret Beasley,  Anna Oldano, Fr Merv Zeisling and Sr Imelda McMahon.  The wide range of experiences and life paths of these wonderful people certainly added to the learning opportunities for the boys, particularly the chance to speak with Fr Merv and Sr Imelda about their call to lives in service of the Church.
The students have appreciated the chance to see into the lives of these wonderful people and have learnt much about the past, the values that can accompany a person through life and the importance of resilience and faith in the face of hardships.  The warm and sincere relationships that develop as a part of this program are a wonderful outcome for students and residents and can perhaps be evidenced by the words spoken by Mrs Bessie Winning at the celebration. To David Guerrini, Anthony Dann and Daniel Stockwell, Bessie gave a posy of flowers and said: “Behind every fine young man is a wonderful mother. You boys are fine young men, so please take these flowers home to your mothers.”

As has been done in previous years, the Lourdes residents will visit St Mary’s College later in the year and the strong relationship between these two organisations will continue to be a source of inspiration and enthusiasm for both students and residents.

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