by Ellen Sundermeier
Student – University of Nebraska, Lincoln
The week I spent with the Little Sisters of the Poor at the Mullen Home was absolutely one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. When I traveled to Denver with ten other students from UNL, none of us really knew what to expect as we arrived at the home. Immediately though, we were blown away by the joy, gratitude, and hospitality we received from the Sisters. They took care of us like we were their own children for the week, checking in on us and always making sure we had everything we needed. I felt so lucky to be able to watch and learn from them as I saw the work they did in the home. Their commitment to their mission and to God was clear in every one of their actions, and the pleasure they took in their work was infectious.
Working with the Residents was by far my favorite part of the trip. I think we were all a little apprehensive at the beginning of the week about talking and sharing a bit of our lives with them, but as the days went on, we could not have been happier doing what we were doing. I felt like I learned so much from the conversations I had with the men and women living there. I loved walking down the halls and being able to say hello to everyone by name and being able to stop in at the rooms and just chat for a couple of minutes. I so enjoyed hearing Harriet’s marching band stories and listening to Lou sing a few lines of a song; there were so many interesting people with such different backgrounds. Every one of them was so sweet and appreciative of our being there. It was great to be doing something worthwhile!
One of the most memorable moments for me was when Helen asked for our group to do an encore performance of “So Long, Farewell” from the talent show we had done. The eleven of us walked up to her room and sang the song for her in the hallway upstairs. This was just before we left and we were all feeling so sad to go. This was such a gratifying way to end the week though. She was so happy to hear us sing and she reached for each of our hands with tears in her eyes as she went back to her room to thank us. It was the very definition of a bittersweet moment and something I will never forget!