By Elaine Y. Olive

Editor’s note: Elaine, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Springfield, wrote this poem as a Thank You to the staff a the Mont Marie Health Care Center in Holyoke. She wanted to show her appreciation “for all the wonderful care they have given and still continue to give” to her mother, Bertha R. Paquet, age 98. Bertha has been a resident there since August, 2011. Elaine also taught at the former Sacred Heart School for 16 years.

Elaine notes: “I wrote it especially for the Mont Marie staff, but I also was thinking of all the unsung caregivers in our skilled nursing care facilities and hospitals.”

Bertha R. Paquet

Bertha R. Paquet


Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, Holy, Holy

are crooked smiles

on vacant faces,

sunken cheeks

and toothless grins,

eyes closed

as one drifts

between this world

and the next.


Holy, Holy, Holy

are voices who speak

but make no sense,

who repeat, “So, what’s

new with you?” all day,

who smile at everyone

not knowing anyone.

Holy, Holy, Holy

are aluminum walkers

with bright tennis ball

feet allowing frail guides

an easier walk

down the hall and back,

down the hall and back.


Holy, Holy, Holy

are customized wheelchairs

providing comfort and

support to atrophied

limbs and bodies

unable to right themselves.

Holy, Holy, Holy

are chair alarms

signaling an unsafe move

of one attached,

call bells loudly ringing

requesting help to care

for once private needs,

televisions blaring for

ears no longer able to hear.


Holy, Holy, Holy

are lamb’s wool

– Depends

– Adaptive eating utensils

like scoop bowls,

sippy cups,

special spoons

– bibs, called clothes


– pureed food

– hearing aid batteries

– portable oxygen tanks

– medications

– commodes

– stool softeners

– Ensure


Holy, Holy, Holy

are wandering souls

once pillars of society

many now forgotten

within this home

Blessed are you, Angels

of Mercy, who care for

their most basic needs,

for protecting them,

for supporting them,

for loving them as your won.

Blessed all hallowed souls

within these sacred walls and

halls, staff, caregivers and

residents alike,

Holy Holy, Holy are you.

Mont marie wide early spring 2011