LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS 11) - It may be the earliest years of their education, but the students at Sacred Heart Preschool are learning a timeless lesson. The school has a unique partnership with the nursing home where many of the sisters from its founding order now live.
"It's more than what we ever expected,” Sacred Heart Preschool Director Lisa Houghlin said. "They send prayers and cards and little projects and communication. So, we're constantly in touch with our sisters.”
The preschool and the Sacred Heart Nursing Home started the partnership three years ago. Now, it's transformed into something truly magical."Just the love that they're experiencing, that's priceless,” Houghlin said. “Parents were starting to ask who is this sister we’re praying for every night at dinner? One of the grandparents told us that one little boy told a friend that he has a sister. The grandmother corrected him and said no, you have a brother. He said no, I have a sister and her name is Sister Macrena.”
The sisters visit the school several times throughout the year.
"When we return, that's all they talk about,” Ursuline Sisters Coordinator Sister Rita Dressman said.Each trip is a gift not just for the sisters and students, but for those who need it most. Service projects often the subject of their time together.
“We see the benefits on our side. It’s a precious gift, but then to also hear what the sisters are doing even back at their nursing home, I think the benefit for them has been just as strong,” Houghlin said.The assignments take teamwork. The process comes full of patience and precious moments
"This program has sort of been a light in our sister's lives. To have little ones connected to them means the world to them,” Dressman said.
It's a bond that boosts that heart, soul, and mind. These friendships help sisters struggling with dementia and depression make serious strides.
"The research is out there. There's a lot of stories showing the benefits of the intergenerational relationships,” Houghlin said.
Preschool is full of foundational moments, but perhaps none more meaningful than this."You can't teach it. You can't write it in your lesson plan, and you can't go to school for it. It's just natural, and it's just the bond of love,” Houghlin said.