St. John Paul II Dwelling






St. John Paul II Dwelling


This article was adapted from an article by Andy Rieger that was originally published in The Norman Transcript, November 25, 2018.
At age 91, Ruth tires easily, but is comforted by soothing music and a volunteer’s warm touch. She smiles as Sr. Maria retells the story of the two German shepherds, Rosie and Paul, who also call the St. John Paul II Dwelling their temporary home. The 8,000 square foot home, nestled on eight wooded acres just east of Interstate Highway 35 outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, opened this fall with two residents who had similar diagnoses. In the final stages of life, both needed a place where dignity, prayer and compassion are in good supply. As I look on, Charlie, age 97, from Boley, gets a private piano concert from a teenage volunteer. “Both of them (Ruth and Charlie) are doing better since they got here,” Sr. Maria reports. “The whole idea of this is of community, of the Gospel, and solidarity. It’s about joining them on their final journey.”
Upon first visiting the home on South Eastern (Moore, Oklahoma), “I prayed, ‘God, this is far too nice for me. Give me something simple,’” Sr. Maria recalls. “But God said, ‘Maybe too nice for you, but not for the people who will live here.’” The two-story home, complete with a chapel, cottage and barn, is the third operated by the nonprofit Gospel of Life Disciples+Dwellings.
Sr. Maria of the Trinity founded the Gospel of Life Association after arriving in Oklahoma City from Minnesota five years ago. The first Gospel of Life Dwelling is near St. James parish in the southern part of Oklahoma City. A similar home is operated in Grand Prairie, Texas. Volunteers, called LifeGuards, take shifts around the clock with the residents.
The St. John Paul II Dwelling’s bedrooms are named for the five nearby Catholic parishes that have stepped up to support the ministry. A donor helped purchase the home from the Babb family. Dirk and Anne Babb raised 15 children there. Many of their children were adopted and had special needs. The home has seven bedrooms, a large kitchen, study, office, music room and television room. Visitors are welcomed with a porch swing. Fundraisers are planned in the farm’s former dairy barn. And soon, there will be horses and a pair of milk cows, Ruth and Esther. The LifeGuards cook, clean, play games, garden, sing and play the piano, and make the environment into the home it was built to be. Sr. Maria explains, “It’s a place where we can walk with them at the end of their life.”
The needs are many and include donations to help pay the bills and install an elevator, and volunteers to serve as “LifeGuards” (caregivers) to further the ministry. With more volunteers, more residents can be served. The calls are already coming in.
Please note: The nonprofit Gospel of Life Disciples+Dwellings relies completely on the generosity of others to support and sustain the ministry. Would you consider helping? Visit www.gospeloflifedisciples.org/volunteer to discover different ways to give of your time, and go to www.gospeloflifedisciples.org/donate to make a one-time or recurring donation. God bless you!
Sister Maria of the Trinity serves on HALO’s Board of Advisors.


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