Holiday Event Illuminates St. John’s Home
For nearly a quarter century, St. John’s Home has marked the beginning of the holiday season in a unique way. Falling on the first Sunday of each December since 1992, the Illumination of Love event serves as much more than simply a tree lighting ceremony. It is a chance for elders living at St. John’s to show off their home as it basks in the glow of the radiant light of the season. This holiday celebration also provides elders, family members, staff, volunteers, and any other member of the St. John’s family with the opportunity to dedicate a light in the memory of a loved one.
Illumination of Love was the idea of Rose Imburgia, former head of the Environmental Services department and St. John’s Auxiliary member. The result of her vision is an inspiring holiday event culminating with the lighting of a beautiful display centrally located in the Skalny Courtyard. For this year’s edition of Illumination of Love, the unseasonably warm weather enabled several of our elders and guests to experience the ceremony outdoors, while dozens more looked on from inside throughout the building.
With funds raised through light dedications going directly to enhancing the lives of St. John’s Home residents, this annual event has taken on even greater meaning. Money donated through Illumination of Love helps support elders with limited financial means, covering such necessities as wheelchair repairs, dental work, and adjustments to eye glasses as well as transportation to loved one’s funerals, social engagements, and much more.
This year’s Illumination of Love was also notable due to the retirement of long-time Volunteer Services Manager Lori Lorraine, who has played a large role in the success of the event over the past 19 years. Lori says that she will cherish her memories from nearly two decades of Illumination of Love events. “It’s just such a beautiful ceremony,” she said. “To see the courtyard lit up with lights is really spectacular.”
Each year, St. John’s Auxiliary chooses an elder to honor as official light switch operator at the event. June Stohr, a resident from the Rose Neighborhood, was selected for her significant volunteer contributions during her two years at St. John’s Home. While she has been active in several volunteer projects helping area organizations like Hillside and the Open Door Mission, she is very modest about her contributions. “I don’t feel that I’m any more deserving than anyone else,” she said. “Nobody does anything by themselves, and I’m just a small part of it all.”
This year’s Illumination of Love event, on Sunday, December 6, raised nearly $5,000.00 for the elders of St. John’s Home. Close to 1,000 lights were dedicated in tribute to family and friends.