I wasn’t sure which forum to post this in, but I wanted to share this wonderful story. I would love to help with something like this! May God bless Ms Meneses for her kindness!
Florida woman honors forgotten mothers in nursing homes with roses
By Anne DiBernardo
Catholic News Service
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (CNS) – Maria Meneses has a vision, but in order to see it through, she needs help.
The vision: to deliver a rose to all female patients in nursing homes on Mother’s Day. Her inspiration came from a desire to pay tribute to her late mother, Eneyda Meneses, who cared for a sick aunt in a nursing home for many years.
“I don’t have a mom. How else can I celebrate?” said Meneses, a parishioner of St. Patrick’s on Miami Beach who made an Emmaus retreat eight years ago.
One of the central themes of Emmaus is service to others, and Meneses said that after she made her retreat she yearned to give something back to Jesus as a small token of thanks.
Like her favorite saint, St. Therese, the Little Flower of Lisieux, “We change the world a little bit at a time,” Meneses said. “A little flower makes a big difference because it touches somebody’s life.”
Meneses has been delivering flowers to a nursing home near her home for the past three years. She hopes to inspire others to join the bandwagon, especially people like herself who have made an Emmaus retreat. She hopes they will agree that delivering flowers to forgotten moms one day a year is an ideal form of service.
“We need to be light-bearers,” she said. "What a wonderful feeling to see Christ’s light in others.
“People who give have a sense of joy which is unparalleled – what a gift and a special grace that is,” said Meneses, who was also inspired by the film “Pay It Forward.”
She said the world needs more random acts of kindness, anything from a simple smile to holding a door or allowing someone the right of way when you drive. Or giving a flower to a woman confined to a nursing home, many of whom are very lonely.
“I can’t tell you the number of patients who remember me each year when I visit. They smile because they feel appreciated and loved. The world needs more love,” Meneses said.
While no one needs to survive traumatic surgery to live life with a sense of purpose, Meneses admits that a brush with death changed her outlook. After going through scary spinal-cord surgery at age 22 and emergency colon surgery more recently, she is acutely aware of her own mortality.
“I live (life) urgently and with purpose,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world, even if it is in some small way. So if I can get other Emmaus brothers and sisters or anyone else to help out, that would be fantastic. More is better.”
According to Meneses, the ideal scenario would be for each parish to sponsor or adopt a nearby nursing home.
“This would spread the idea throughout the archdiocese, and then kindness and love can spread exponentially,” she said.
One good friend and fellow Emmaus participant, Juan Llarena, has been assisting Meneses with the purchase, preparation and distribution of flowers each year. Several women also help her distribute the roses each year.
“I’ve had mothers come out with their daughters and to have that participation is beautiful to see,” Meneses said.
She knows a vendor who sells the roses for about $8 per dozen, so the investment is minimal. The only labor involved is removing the thorns from the roses in order to make sure they don’t prick anyone, and perhaps tying a ribbon around them.
Meneses cites the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta to express her feelings: “We will be your hands. We will be your feet. We will run this race for the least of these – the unwanted, the unloved. They are Jesus in disguise.”