Submitted by St. Joseph’s Home. St. Joseph’s Home, an affiliate of the Saskatoon Health Region is home for 80 residents. St. Joseph’s Home offers daily religious services and emphasis on the Ukrainian way of life.

Saskatchewan is truly a land of living skies, endless fields, and hard-working people. This is clearly evident at St. Joseph’s Home.

We are blessed to serve our beautiful senior population, many of whom are passionate and successful farmers, who, by their selfless dedication and tireless work, built our province by providing bread on our tables. We still are reaping the fruits of their labour and perseverance. Everything starts with one little seed. All life is all about the growth, nurturing, care, patience and love.

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Residents enjoy the raised beds at St. Joseph’s Home.

Farming, gardening, and yardwork are among the healthiest activities for people of any age. Contact with the earth stimulates our senses, shows us the beauty of creation, and opens our hearts to glorify the Creator. These realities are grounded in our elderly. Their wisdom, experience, dedication, happiness, and longevity are the shining examples of a life well lived, close to the earth and close to God.

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The raised beds make it possible for all residents to help care for the plants.

Many of our residents (70 per cent) are the descendants of early Ukrainian pioneers from the 1890s, who came from the black-earthed steppes of the Ukraine to the rolling plains of the prairies. They cleared trees; dug irrigation channels; built houses, post offices, schools, churches, roads and grain silos. They cultivated endless fields of wheat, corn, barley, fruits, and vegetables. They settled new towns in the barren prairies that grew into bustling centers of agriculture and commerce. They had a vision.

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All residents are involved in watering, weeding, aerating, or simply enjoying the gardens.

In 1964, St. Joseph’s Home was built so that these settlers, when the time came, could receive ongoing specialized nursing care in an atmosphere that reflects the uniqueness of the Ukrainian people and their lifestyle as determined by their religion, culture, and tradition.

Of course, a large organic garden was part of the plan at St. Joseph’s Home. Until recently, our residents had carefully planted it with the assistance of the Sisters. With the ever-growing level of care and mobility limitations, our ‘experts in residence’ were unable to continue this meaningful activity, which had given them a sense of purpose and achievement, not to mention the bonus of savoring and sharing the fruits of their own labour. Every time someone went into our garden, they quickly followed in their wheelchairs, watching with nostalgia.

An early spring this year provided us with a great opportunity to develop an elevated garden for the enjoyment of our residents. This idea was welcomed with excitement and a lengthy list of necessary seeds and tools. With the help of our volunteers, staff, family, and Sisters, the project was underway, and everyone could hardly wait to go outside and get their hands dirty.

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The gardens give many residents happiness and a sense of purpose.

All residents are involved in watering, weeding, aerating, or simply watching their oasis grow. Those suffering from severe dementia may not be aware of the garden, but when the Sisters place a garden hose in their hands, they know exactly what to do. They might not remember the work they did, but there remains that feeling in their hearts that they are doing something important. And what a great joy it brings to the families and staff alike to see their loved ones happy and filled with a sense of purpose and anticipation for tomorrow.

We are already enjoying juicy strawberries and patiently awaiting the rest of this year’s crop!

Our beloved seniors made a huge contribution to our province and now it is our time to make a contribution for them… and it does not take much to succeed!