Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
FOX5 meteorologist and luncheon master of ceremonies Ken Cook is surrounded by hat wearing ladies including (r-l) his wife Susie, 12-year-old Meredith Sammon, 15-year-olds Ann Marie Sammon and Brianna Hernandez, and Lynne Sammon. The Sammons and Hernandez attend Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton, and the Cooks attend St. Andrew Church, Roswell.


52nd Annual Luncheon Raises Money For Cancer Home

By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published October 30, 2008

Donning fancy hats and their best Sunday clothes, a group of teenage girls from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton, attended the 52nd annual Auxiliary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home Luncheon and Silent Auction on Saturday, Oct. 18, for the first time.

They represented a new wave of young attendees to the event, which is held every year to benefit the home in downtown Atlanta where sisters give free nursing care to those with terminal cancer who cannot afford such care.

Michelle Fritz and Paulette Fulton, parishioners of the Carrollton parish, brought the members of the parish youth group to be exposed to the cause and mission of the home and the religious who have run it for the last 69 years.

“In our society, it is so me-centered,” said Fritz. “It is important for our kids to see the service aspect of the church.”

The OLPH Home in Atlanta opened in 1939 as an outreach of a religious order, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, formed in 1900 by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop. Patients at the home are taken care of without payment and are provided care by the sisters and a network of volunteers. It is one of five such homes in the United States, and the order recently opened a new mission in Kenya in Africa.

Positioned near Turner Field under the shade of old trees, the patients are given a home-like atmosphere in which they are loved and cared for without regard for religious, social or ethnic background.

The mission of the order is to preach “the intrinsic value and dignity of each human being in their last stage of life,” according to the superior general, Mother Mary Francis. All Dominicans have the essential calling given by St. Dominic to be preachers of God’s love, but this order preaches through its “care for the crucified and suffering Christ in each of our patients.” No payment is accepted from patients or their families.

“I think it is a wonderful cause,” said 15-year-old Brianna Hernandez, who attended the event at the Cobb Galleria Centre with her fellow youth group members. “It is great that our director could put something together like this for us.”

Hawthorne Dominicans Sister Martha, left, and Sister Mary Kateri join auxiliary president Meg Burnett during the 52nd annual luncheon at the Cobb Galleria. Photo By Michael Alexander

The auxiliary, which has sponsored the event for the last 52 years, was formed in 1940 to aid the small group of sisters in their mission. The auxiliary provides public relation services and fundraising opportunities, but the luncheon and silent auction have become the largest source of funds for the home.

“This is our major fundraiser,” said Meg Burnett, president of the auxiliary.

Burnett also said that 69 parishes in the archdiocese participated in raising funds for the event this year, the largest number of parishes involved since the first of the annual luncheons.

Donated items that helped raise funds included a Waterford vase given by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, a 32-inch LCD high-definition television, a car navigation system and a $1,000 cash prize.

Throughout the event attendees also bid on more than 100 auction items, which featured gift certificates to Atlanta restaurants, weekend getaways and greens fees for some of Georgia’s finest golf courses. At the center of each table was a unique handbag up for auction as well.

Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue said a few words before blessing the meal and applauded the work the sisters have done throughout the decades. The archbishop, who first attended the luncheon 15 years ago, said he felt “honored and privileged” to be in attendance.

He spoke of the service and “cheerful love” given by the sisters and volunteers alike and said that many of the faces in the crowd were ones that he has seen every year at the luncheon.

After the blessing, the nearly 400 people in attendance enjoyed a three-course lunch while visiting with others at their table and occasionally getting up to check on coveted auction items.

Nearly 400 people attend the Oct. 18 silent auction and luncheon for the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home. Photo By Michael Alexander

Dr. C.B. Collier, who first attended the luncheon three years ago, continues to come to support the home and the sisters.

“It brings people together,” she said. “It is a good model for other churches.”

By the end of the day, the young ladies from Carrollton felt they had had a positive experience.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Meghan Dugan, 16. “It was a great experience. I was pleasantly surprised.”

A handful of the eight sisters working at the home came to the luncheon and welcomed attendees who came by and thanked them for their service. They live their consecration in daily Eucharist, shared daily prayer, community life and lifelong study, along with the shared apostolate of nursing.

Ken Cook, meteorologist for FOX 5 News and emcee for the event, was among those who thanked the sisters and all those who support their work.

“Join me in thanking our sisters,” he said as he led the group in a boisterous round of applause.

“You are helping the sisters with their wonderful work,” he added.

For more information about the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, go to