“Filling Their Golden Years with Joy”

CMM Contact: June Monaghan, SCN       

Eleanor Willett, SCN, a native of Fancy Farm, Kentucky, serves as an LPN mainly at Maria Hall/Personal Care.  Eleanor is the only SCN in the nursing field who continues to minister to our Sisters and lay residents at Nazareth Home/Maria Hall.  Eleanor loves her work and is energized by the residents’ love and appreciation for all she is and does for them to help ease their pain and fill their “golden years” with joy.

Eleanor came from a loving family and was one of ten children.  She was the daughter of Judson and Benita Merritt Willett, and had strong ties with grandparents, aunts and uncles.  She was eager to learn and became an excellent cook at a very young age.  When her sister Frances married, and moved to Chicago, Eleanor spent happy summers, helping her sister through pregnancies and aiding her in rearing her growing family.

As Eleanor looks back on her own fifty “golden years” as a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, she cherishes many happy memories and remembers  with fondness her first mission in Newport News, Virginia where she taught the primary grades with Sister Eleanor Teresa Hancock as mentor.  Eleanor recalls Sister Eleanor Teresa as both patient and helpful.  Eleanor remembers the people of Newport News as very good to the Sisters; SCNs in Newport News enjoyed picnics, and went on all-day outings.  Holidays were filled with hospitality and festive foods.  The people drove the Sisters everywhere they needed and/or wanted to go.  Eleanor continues to keep up with three ladies and one student from Newport News.

Eleanor has always wanted to help others in small and large ways.  She worked in an African-American parish, St. Monica’s, Bardstown, Kentucky for four years.  The four SCNs in her local community did hands-on ministry with the people, visited the sick, invited parishioners in for meals, and participated in their liturgies and Church/school functions.

After twenty-three years of teaching, Eleanor sensed it was time to leave the classroom.  After serving in the Communications and Vocations Offices, and taking an aptitude test under S. Mildred Clare Clougherty’s direction, it was apparent that Eleanor could excel in the healthcare profession. (Eleanor’s maternal grandfather was Beauregard Merritt, MD.)  When Eleanor had been working full-time at Nazareth Home a short while, she obtained certification as a CMT (Certified Medication Technician) in order to give medications to the residents.  Later, she took time off and was certified as an LPN.  She has now been serving the Sisters and lay residents at Nazareth Home/Maria Hall for almost twenty-five years.  She loves her work, and maintains that she has received more than she has given.