Area nuns take the infield at Fifth Third FieldWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
Mother Cecilia and Sister Margaret laid down the law at home plate for Mud Hens Manager Larry Parrish and the umpires.
“I told them no swearing and no spitting,” Mother Cecilia said, beaming radiantly as she walked off Fifth Third Field.
Manager for the day Aug. 20, Mother Cecilia of the Little Sisters of the Poor conferred with Parrish on the batting order in the bullpen. She was looking for a win over the Hens’ opponent, the Indianapolis Indians.
“Looked like some heavy negotiations at home plate,” said Bill Cook, director of development for the Little Sisters.
With 70 residents and 10 sisters to care for them, the Little Sisters of the Poor’s Sacred Heart Home in Oregon has been providing assisted living facilities to the needy elderly for 125 years. Their simple white habits fluttering in the breeze of the ballpark, the Little Sisters served up hot dogs and hamburgers for many of their residents and supporters who were able to attend the game. All proceeds from the ticketed picnic benefited the Sacred Heart Home.
“It’s so nice to be able to see our residents be able to enjoy themselves,” Mother Cecilia said.
Both Mother Cecilia and Sister Margaret pointed out resident Ron Shire as the Hens’ No. 1 fan. Shire, 76, is a Toledo native and said he has been attending games since he was 9 years old.
“I was here when Frank Gilhooley was the announcer, and followed them when they had their old field,” Shire said.
Recovering from a month-long hospitalization for an infection, Shire was excited to be at the ballpark again.
“It was his goal to get better so he could come to the ballgame,” Mother Cecilia said. “He’s so happy to have made it.”
Baseball is a common interest at the Sacred Heart Home. Mother Cecilia is an avid fan, and said on game nights, residents gather to watch together.
“It’s truly an all-American sport, for people young and old,” Mother Cecilia said. “I love baseball. I’ve been a Tigers fan my whole life.”
Mother Cecilia has been the head of the Little Sisters for a year now and is as energetic as they come. Introducing herself as the team manager at the Mud Hens security desk, Mother Cecilia fluffed her white habit and smiled.
“I’ll tell those Indiana folks what to do,” Mother Cecilia said on the way to the field.
Carol Kraus, daughter of The Andersons-founding family, has strong family ties to the Little Sisters and attended the Aug. 20 game. Kraus said her mother, Margaret Anderson, loved the organization and hosted picnics for the residents at their home, a tradition Kraus continued with her children.
“It’s a wonderful experience to get to know the residents,” Kraus said. “The new mother seems to be a dynamo.”
“It’s very important that we’re a family with them (the residents). Big sisters would be bossy. Little sisters serve humbly and gently,” Mother Cecilia said, explaining the meaning of the organization’s name.
Although Mother Cecilia gave Parrish and the Mud Hens plenty of encouragement, the Hens lost to Indianapolis 1-0.