Students carol, bring Christmas joy to local nursing homes


Throughout this last week of November, students brought the Christmas cheer to five Steubenville nursing homes with their holiday sweaters, caroling and smiling faces.

The Nursing Home Christmas Caroling initiative brought dozens of students to Catherine’s Care, Sienna Woods, Carriage Inn, Martha Manor and Wheeling Hospital between the dates of Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 to spread Christmas cheer.

On the evening of Nov. 28, over a dozen students donned holiday apparel, piled into a university van and set off for Catherine’s Care Center, an assisted living facility in downtown Steubenville housing several dozen residents.

One student brought her flute and another, her guitar. The carolers split into two groups to traverse the halls of Catherine’s Care, visiting residents in their rooms to serenade them with their favorite Christmas tunes. One group even sang for a small audience of residents gathered in the lobby.

Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Works of Mercy ministry visits these nursing homes on a weekly basis. Students who lead these groups know the residents on a first name basis and expressed their excitement to have so many students involved in Christmas caroling.

The special week of caroling was advertised in Antonian Hall and the J.C. Williams Center, drawing new students, especially freshmen, to the nursing home ministry.

It was freshman Patricia Burke’s first time visiting a nursing home with Franciscan, and she thought it was “a really positive experience.” Burke was impressed with the students who regularly visit the nursing home, saying, “You could tell (the residents) looked forward to seeing us students come. … It was really cool how the students that are part of the ministry, they know each one of them by name and they have a relationship built with them already.”

Burke said that the Christmas joy and lifted spirits were palpable as soon as the carolers walked into a room. “It definitely brought them a lot of joy.”

The Nursing Home Christmas Caroling initiative was sponsored by Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Missionary Outreach Office.