Left, Sister Virgine Elking with Santa and his helper; middle, Sister Ruth Ann Meyer prepares ornaments for the Christmas tree; right, Sisters Gladys Marie Lowe and Mary Ellen Andrisin receive gifts from Santa.
There was plenty of Christmas spirit at Salem Heights and Emma Hall as Sisters celebrated the birth of Christ with prayer, song and decorations.
Things kicked off on Dec. 10 when the Sisters at Salem Heights held their annual tree decorating in the dining room. More than 30 Sisters strung ornaments, prayed and shared stories over cookies and egg nog. A special reading detailed how the Christmas tree helps us understand the paschal mystery and symbolizes the light of Christ. Christmas music played in the background as Sisters enjoyed their refreshments.
The Sisters at Salem Heights also decorate their home with Christmas trees, figurines and nativity scenes throughout the building.
On Dec. 19 Santa and his helpers made their annual visit to Emma Hall to hand out cookies and peanuts to the Sisters who live there. Roaming the halls with a booming ho-ho-ho, Santa left smiles on the faces of Sisters and staff alike.
For nearly 40 years the Knights of Columbus chapter 4587 from Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in Miamisburg, Ohio, have brought Santa to visit the Sisters at Emma on the Saturday before Christmas.
The Stebelton family has been part of the tradition from the beginning. Randy Stebelton now plays Santa, a job that he inherited from his late father, Roger, who was Santa for years. This year three generations of Stebeltons were part of the visit. Good Hope parishioners bake the cookies Santa hands out.
After leaving Emma, Santa and his helpers moved over the Salem Heights where they were greeted by the Sisters and serenaded by “We wish you a Merry Christmas.”
Story and photos by Dave Eck