By GRETCHEN KEISER, Staff Writer | Published October 28, 2010
The Hawthorne Dominican sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home were surrounded by 350 friends and supporters on Saturday, Oct. 9, as the annual luncheon was given for the 54th year, this time in McDonough Hall at Holy Spirit Church. The catered champagne luncheon, and the fund drive held by the home’s auxiliary leading up to it, are unshakeable commitments for those who come and also staff tables in parishes for weeks beforehand to sell tickets and ensure that it is a success.
Last year the auxiliary through the luncheon raised $130,000 for the home, where sisters offer free care to terminal cancer patients, accepting no payment of any kind from them, but relying totally on God’s providence.
Guest speaker Brenda Sharman called the sisters “supermodels of virtue.”
“These sisters are beautiful from the inside out. Their love radiates,” she said.
A convert to the Catholic faith, Sharman, the 1990 Miss Georgia USA, has become the national spokesperson for Pure Fashion, a program teaching girls how to develop personal style and fashion sense but with awareness of their dignity.
Bishop Luis Zarama, who gave the invocation, said he couldn’t help noticing that it was overwhelmingly women who were coming to the luncheon in support of the sisters’ ministry.
“Women always have that heart to teach us how to love and to serve. You are always so generous with your time. Thank you for this beautiful example,” Bishop Zarama said.
Looking in the eyes of the Hawthorne Dominican sisters, “it is always so easy to see love,” the bishop said, and that is a gift to those who are looking into their eyes while failing in health and nearing death. Seeing love prepares them for seeing God, he said.
“Thank you for caring for these people at the end of their lives. You are preparing them with love and God is love,” he said.
Some of the sisters were able to come to the lunch, where other special guests included Archbishop emeritus John F. Donoghue, Msgr. Joseph Corbett, vicar general, and Father Tom Hennessy, chaplain.
Dozens of creatively packaged baskets designed by parishes of the archdiocese were up for silent auction, based on themes from Italian cooking to gardening, wine, sports gear, children’s books, teas, religious artwork, and Catholic marriage planning.
Ending on a high note, the winner of the grand prize of a Wii game system with the Wii Fit fitness package was Msgr. R. Donald Kiernan, pastor of All Saints Church, Dunwoody.
Co-chairs of this year’s luncheon were Yvette Ravry and Margaret Stenglein.