For four nights and three days, 85 year-old Sister Margaret (Peg) Geary was trapped inside a broken-down elevator.
It happened on a Friday night, after Sister Peg’s fellow sisters and the office staff had left for a long weekend. Sister Peg had gone downstairs to the kitchen looking for a snack before bed. She usually took the stairs, but with a glass of water and a few celery sticks occupying her hands, she decided to take the 66-year-old elevator instead. When she felt the awful thud, Sister Peg immediately thought: “This can’t happen!” But the truth is, it can – and it did. Like many of our aging religious, Sister Peg was living in an old building in need of improvements just to keep it safe, if not comfortable.
Each month, SOAR! receives stacks of requests from religious communities who desperately need help making their old convents safe and accessible for our elderly by retrofitting staircases and bathrooms or installing ramps and wander management systems. Many of our older sisters are frail, infirm or have extensive medical needs. Still, their congregations want to keep them home, together with their fellow sisters and out of public nursing homes.
Of course, don’t let Sister Peg hear you call her ordeal anything other than a gift – because this good sister was never alone in that tiny cramped space. And even though her cell phone didn’t work, a phone wasn’t necessary for this “call.” Instead, Sister Peg pulled out her rosary beads and began to pray. And prayer is what sustained Sister Peg until she was finally rescued. “God’s presence was my strength and my joy – really,” she says.
Here are some favorite prayers contributed by the very sisters whose lifelong service and sacrifices you honor when you donate to SOAR!. You will find our elderly sisters’ favorite prayers, the same ones they’ve lovingly recited throughout their years. It makes them so happy to share these devotions with you – they hope that you, too, will enjoy prayer’s divine healing power, just as Sister Peg did during her ordeal.
After being rescued, Sister Peg was taken to the hospital, where she only needed to be treated for slight dehydration. Soon, she was back to work, ministering to the young teenage women she continues to serve.
The Sisters moved out of the convent with the old and broken elevator. Not long after the move Sister Peg had knee surgery. Though her new home has only one floor, the bathroom was not handicap accessible.
Yet, because the generosity of SOAR! donors Sister Peg has her bathroom! And so many others like her are kept protected and safe from harm in their twilight years.
Please consider a donation to SOAR! so that we can continue this important work.
Click here to read about Sister Peg’s story in the Catholic Review.
Here is a video of CNN’s coverage of Sister Peg’s story: