St Hedwig Village News Summer Edition

St Hedwig Village News – December 2017 Summer Edition

2017 Christmas Message

from our Chairman

Dear Residents and Friends of St Hedwig Village,

The highlight this year was undoubtedly the 25th anniversary of the Nursing Home which we celebrated on the 23rd February 2017. It is also 30 years since St Hedwig Village was registered as a company.

The Board has worked very hard this year seeking approval to redevelop and modernise our site and we are now very close in obtaining Blacktown City Council support to submit our Development Application to the Regional Planning Committee for approval. We are quite excited about this and subject to receiving approval in the next 2 to 3 months, work should commence in 2018.

At the A.G.M. on the 1st November 2017 the new Board was elected for 2017 – 2020. The six elected Board members are Anthony Ams, Peter Driessen, Carl Hanich, Jacob Hanich, Manfred Kersch and Ines Matenaer. Additionally Pfarrer Roland Maurer, as ex-officio member, makes up the seven member Board.

I sincerely hope that Christmas will again be a time of great joy for all of you and I hope you will be able to share this joy with your family and friends.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Management and Staff of St. Hedwig Village for the wonderful care they provided to all of you.

May this Christmas fill your heart with warmth, peace and joy. Wishing you a Holy and Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Jacob Hanich


CEO’s Message

We had several special guests visit St Hedwig Village in October. The Mayor, Stephen Bali and the Director for Design and Development from Blacktown City Council, Glennys James, joined several of our board members and the architects of our new development for afternoon tea. The meeting gave us the opportunity to showcase our current facilities and services and our plans for the re-development of our site. It was also interesting to hear from the Mayor and Glennys about how Blacktown is growing and all the new developments and projects planned for Blacktown and the surrounding suburbs. Clearly, Blacktown is experiencing tremendous growth and change, and the projects planned for the area sound exciting.

We also welcomed the Bishop of Parramatta, the Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen and during his brief visit we had the opportunity to give the Bishop a quick tour of our facilities. Bishop
Long was visiting St Raphael’s community and expressed a keen interest to see our facilities and hear about our redevelopment project.

Christmas is a special time. It brings back happy memories of family gatherings and traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Christmas trees, decorations, Christmas hymns, advent, baking Christmas cakes, exchanging gifts. These are just some of the traditions that make this time of the year special. Christmas means something different to each of us, but everyone appreciates a simple card, a phone call, a visit, a greeting. Some families that live apart usually make the effort at this time of the year to see their loved ones. All these things are fun but what really matters is being with your closest family and friends to celebrate this joyous occasion. Be sure to take some time out of your busy lives to enjoy the magic of Christmas.

Kathy Eberl
Chief Executive Officer

Christmas Crib and Nativity

Did you know that St Francis of Assisi created the first Christmas and Nativity?

St Francis having returned from the Holy Land thought how best he might portray the simplicity of the Birth of the Son of God into our world. He found a cave near the hillside village of Greccio
in northern Italy for his nativity scene. In the darkness of Christmas Eve people carrying candles and burning torches travelled from nearby villages to the little cave on the hillside.

As the people arrived, hay was spread out, and local farmers and shepherds led into the cave an ox and a donkey and a few sheep. The animals were at peace; the people were hopeful.

Then St Francis placed on a stone altar cloths that were wrapped to resemble a baby. All the people prayed and sang. The Christmas Midnight Mass began. St Francis read the Gospel, telling how Mary and Joseph had travelled and found no room available in Bethlehem, whose name means “the House of Bread”. There they sheltered with animals, and Mary gave birth to Jesus in poverty and simplicity, placing into a manger (from which the animals ate hay) the Child Jesus.

As the Mass ended, the people left the cave. They had repeated the words of the angel and had, indeed, given “Glory to God in the highest!” They returned to their homes, joyful, and living
in peace with one another: “Peace to all people of good will!”

I visited Greccio a number of years ago when I travelled through Italy. On the hillside the cave is still there. A monastery has been built nearby and a church. Every day the Christmas Mass is
repeated for visitors. A small museum next door displays nativity scenes from all over the world. It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have visited.

Anna Bay Holiday

Our Anna Bay holiday began with an unexpected start.

We had a flat tyre on the freeway and ended up needing the NRMA to help us get back on our journey to our holiday destination at One Mile Beach Resort.

  • Tuesday:  In the morning we walked around the campsite and met a friendly cockatoo named George who says hello! After that we ventured off to a little beach for a BBQ lunch and walked barefoot on the beach. “Oh what a feeling”.
  • Wednesday: We went on a beautiful ferry trip to Tea Gardens for lunch. The trip over was amazing, looking out for dolphins and all the bays that surround Nelsons Bay.
  • Thursday: We visited Stockton Beach famous for its sand dunes and enjoyed a guided tour in a 4WD bus. After that we had a fine dining dinner at the Dutchmans Bay Golf Club.
  • Friday: Raining so we stayed indoors and played rummi kub, enjoyed foot spas, having our nails done and a BBQ for dinner.
  • Saturday: Back home, what an amazing time.

Danielle Grech

Fr Roland’s Message

Weihnachten, Christmas, das Fest der Geburt unseres Herrn, das Kommen des Erlösers im Fleisch, die Menschwerdung Christi…

So viele Bezeichnungen – und noch viel mehr Bilder dieses Ereignisses. Denken Sie einfach an die vielen verschiedenen Bilder ihrer Weihnachtspost, denken Sie an die vielen Krippen – und
Muttergottesdarstellungen, die Sie haben und schon gesehen haben.

Sie alle haben einen kleinen Fehler, der aber etwas Richtiges sagen will.

Die meisten Darstellungen sind europäisch. Jesus wurde aber als Kind jüdischer Eltern in Judäa geboren. Müssten wir denn nun nicht ein entsprechendes Bild erfinden?

Eben nicht. Gerade weil er Mensch geworden ist in einer bestimmten Zeit in einem bestimmten Volk, aber FÜR ALLE, so dürfen wir ihn auch in unsere jeweilige Kultur verheutigen, denn er will immer noch Mensch werden – in uns.

So habe ich schon einige nicht-europäische Darstellungen gesehen, aus Afrika, aus Asien und selbst eine australische. Mich haben sie ALLE begeistert und zum Denken gebracht:

Für uns Menschen
und zu unserem Heil
ist er vom Himmel gekommen,
hat Fleisch angenommen
durch den Heiligen Geist
von der Jungfrau Maria
und ist Mensch geworden.

Ihnen allen einen gesegneten und hoffnungsvollen Advent wie auch eine freuderfüllte Weihnachtszeit.

Fr Roland Maurer

Pastoral Care Condolences

We take this opportunity to extend our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones:

Thomas Aincough, Lyn Christian, Gemma Ciantar, Daphne Cotton, Maria Faglioni, Marianne Piller, Hildegard Raulickis, Maria Read, Charlotte Reinhardt, Lydia Sereno, Harald Stein, Roberta Vella, Maria Vidovic and Lorna Warner.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

German Volunteers

Hello everybody!
My name is Anna Rumbach and I am an 18 year old girl from Germany. The city I am from is called Aachen. It is in the western part of Germany, very close to the Belgian and Dutch border.

I passed my “Abitur” few months ago. Since I love travelling, meeting people and experiencing new things I wanted to go to Australia – and here I am!

I am very happy and pleased to be here in St Hedwig Village. Everybody was very welcoming and friendly when I arrived two months ago.

In my free time I usually spend time with friends, do sports or play the violin. I appreciate reading books and doing craft, although I am not the best artist.

I am really looking forward to having a great time here in St Hedwig Village with all the residents and the staff!

Anna Rumbach

G´day, mate!

Mein Name ist Frieder und ich darf ein halbes Jahr im Nursing Home St. Hedwig in Blacktown arbeiten und die Großstadt Sydney spüren und erfahren. Ich spiele für mein Leben gerne Fußball und Tennis. Direkt nachdem ich die Schule mit dem Abitur in der Tasche verlassen habe, fand ich mich im Flugzeug nach Australien wieder und kann nach zwei Monaten Sydney feststellen, dass meine Euphorie für das Abenteuer Australien nicht nachgelassen hat.

Ich freue mich auf die nächsten Monate mit euch!

Frieder Seethaler

Hallo zusammen,

Mein Name ist Antonia Grumptmann, ich bin 18 Jahre alt und ich komme aus Köln. Ich habe im Sommer meine Schule beendet und stand vor der großen Frage: Was mache ich jetzt?! Ich bin schon immer gerne gereist, doch leider nie so weit weg! Da ist Australien wohl die beste Möglichkeit. Auch die Arbeit mit anderen Menschen hat mir schon immer sehr viel Spaß gemacht. Ich war in meinem Heimatort sehr aktiv, vor allem was die Kinder und Jugendbetreung angeht. Ebenfalls habe ich als Aushilfe in einem Supermarkt gearbeitet. Wenn ich wieder nach Deutschland komme, möchte ich eine Ausbildung in der Bank machen.

Ich habe zwei kleinere Schwestern die mich immer auf Trab halten. In meiner Freizeit war ich aber auch im musikalischem Bereich aktiv. Ich habe unter anderem in einem Chor gesungen und mehrere Jahre Klavier gespielt.

Ich freue mich jetzt noch viele Monate bei Ihnen sein zu können und mit Ihnen tolle Aktivitäten zu erleben!

Antonia Grumptmann

Pastoral Care Coordinator News

Christmas is fast approaching and quite honestly I can’t believe that yet another year is about to come to an end. When I mentioned this to some of our residents I was informed that as you get older the years disappear even faster! I don’t think I’ll mention the speed at which life seems to be flashing by ever again! In the Nursing Home this afternoon I asked some residents what Christmas meant to them. Family, friends and the birth of Jesus was the common answer.

For people of faith, the foremost celebration is indeed remembering the birth of Jesus, His birth brings a message of peace, love and hope to all. Christmas is also a time for family being together and renewing bonds, renewing friendships and exchanging gifts. However, Christmas for some people comes with many challenges and struggles and instead of it being a time of celebration and joy, it may be overshadowed by the death of a spouse or loved one, stress, poverty, violence or homelessness.

I read an article recently written by Norman Vincent Peale, for me his article sums up the real meaning of Christmas. He wrote, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. In this lifetime, I have learned that Christmas magic is powerful, but the power in our hearts is even more magical. Our ability to love one another, to renew our faith and bring hope into our lives and the lives of others, are the greatest of gifts to bestow and receive. And yet, the greatest gifts are not those wrapped in fine papers or dressed in colorful bows. They are those given with an open heart, one wrapped in the lovely ribbons of faith, hope, and love”.

This Christmas let us all be more mindful and spread a little more love around by sharing and giving to those who really could do with some help.

Wishing all of you a very safe, happy, and blessed Christmas and abundant blessings in the New Year.

News from the Pews

  • Sunday 3rd December – 1 st Sunday in Advent – Mass in the Link at 1:15pm
  • Tuesday 12th December – Anointing of the sick during Mass at 3:15pm in the Hostel Chapel and 4:00pm in the Link
  • Thursday 14th December – Nativity play in the Hostel at 10:00am, 11:00am in the Link.
  • Sunday 24th December – Mass in St Hedwig Village at 1:15pm, St Raphael’s 6:30pm
  • Monday 25th December – Mass in St Hedwig Village – 11:00am in the Link.

Please check the Pastoral Care notice boards throughout the facility for any further updates.

Maria Lynam

Nursing Home Activity Report

With spring now in full swing we are able to take advantage of the lovely warm days with lots of activities being held outdoors.

In September we started the month with motorbike rides with Carol Camden. Noreen and Annette organised a special German Traditional Day known as “Fruehschoppen” which consists of beer and nibbles. The men enjoyed their special day. Later in the month a combined Nursing Home and Hostel men’s outing to Alroy Tavern in Plumpton was organised. The men were able to relax and enjoy a cold beer and lunch in the lovely Beer Garden of the Tavern. A Men’s Barber Shop was held where the room was transformed into a Barber Shop. Lovely shaving cream, shavers and lotions were purchased especially for this pamper day. A special thanks to John Amson and Danielle Grech. Our Residents left the Nursing Home Activity Report Barber Shop looking and feeling like a million dollars.

The Nursing Home received a special visit from the children who attend St Michael’s vacation school care. The children were very friendly, taking time to talk to the residents and asking lots of interesting questions. The following week a group of residents from the Nursing Home went out to visit the children at the St Michael’s Vacation Care Centre. The children provided a lovely afternoon tea which the residents enjoyed together with afternoon entertainment of playing games and talking with the children.

Oktoberfest celebrations were held in the Nursing Home with a wonderful performance by Annette from “That Couple” and of course no Oktoberfest is complete without a happy hour.

Sylvia and the residents held a craft stall which was very successful. All the beautiful craft items made by the residents throughout the year were sold. The money raised from the craft sale goes toward buying more resources for the residents.

In November the race that stops the nation took place. Residents and staff wore their lovely hats and the afternoon events began with a staff fashion parade, residents’ hat parade, and our own St Hedwig race. Melbourne cup at St Hedwig is a great afternoon enjoyed by all.

Mrs Dyer expressed that she would like to send a special thanks to all the volunteers who help around the Nursing Home, they all work so hard to ensure residents are having a good day.

RAO’s Nursing Home

Hostel Activity Report

In the month of September lots of activities were organized to celebrate our hostel gents. Now that spring has arrived “outdoor” bus trips are back on our planner. The combined men outing with GTW and Nursing Home took us to Alroy Tavern. Our gents had a fantastic time. During another bus trip the Western Sydney Park and Nurragingy Reserve were explored. We also enjoyed a bus trip to the Guildford RSL Club.

The residents got together on 12th September for a special morning tea to celebrate residents’ milestone anniversaries. Families were also invited.

The residents had the opportunity to use the services for hearing screening, optometry and podiatric clinics during the month. As we grow older we have to accept that our physical and mental condition changes. We might become complacent about the fact that our hearing can be poor. A hearing screening took place. To prevent isolation, it was advised to make use of hearing aids. Two orthoptists from NSW Guide Dogs followed the requests of our residents to be fitted special sun glasses.

Bingo is replaced with Musical Bingo at times, as it is more popular and our morning dance classes with Charles and Candy was a big success.

Day of German Unity is the National Day of Germany, celebrated on 3rd October. This special occasion was celebrated in the Hostel Garden. German waffles were cooked outside and served for the morning tea. Lots of reminiscing about past events in Germany occurred.

“Drumming for Fun” is how our drumming group is known. Residents are encouraged to play as loud as they like and build up their confidence. At the moment we have four drums and all participants can drum along to their favorite music and acapella. Mr Gerard is one of our best drummers. He is the leader of the group.

Preparation for the Pink Day was a team effort. Decorations were hand made with the assistance of our volunteers and residents. With many pink decorations we wanted to highlight the importance of cancer research. We raised $256.20. What a fantastic result! We thank everyone who helped make the Pink Day Special Morning Tea such success.

The last event of the month was the bus trip to the Featherdale Wildlife Park. It was such an amazing experience where residents were able to pet a kangaroo and enjoyed a picnic.

In November Melbourne Cup Day high tea was very well attended. Residents were swept up with the excitement of Australia’s favorite race day.

Remembrance Day gave everybody the opportunity to remember those that served in the armed forces and give them the respect that they deserve and have earned.

Noreen and Margaret – Hostel RAO’s

Retirement Village News

Since the last edition we have been fairly busy. Five of our residents are members of the St Raphael’s Church Choir and started September off taking part in the massive Sängerfest in Croydon. There we performed separately and with the other four choirs together classical and folk songs to a very enthusiastic audience. Then came the St Raphael’s Patrozinium combined with the Tag der Heimat.

Mass was celebrated with Latin and German hymns of which Mozart’s Ave Verum I personally found the most beautiful and moving. After the traditional German lunch followed a variety of performances not only by our choir but also by several brilliant soloists and the unique St Raphael Folk Dancing Group who introduced their delightful children’s group to a standing ovation.

At this time every year we celebrate residency milestone anniversaries in the village. The following residents were recognized; Helga Herzog – 5 years, Stephanie Steininger – 5 years, Werner Weil – 10 years, Sigrid Frances – 15 years and Arno Schöpfer – 15 years.

On 29th September we bade a sad farewell to Harald Stein who had been a village resident for many years. After a long illness Harald is now at rest and our sincere condolences go to Bronia and his family and friends.

After the success of last year’s Oktoberfest we decided to repeat it again for Bingo lunch. The community hall was splendidly decorated in the Bavarian blue and white colours. Brezeln, Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, Bratwurst were washed down with beer, wine and soft drinks, followed by apple crumble with ice cream, coffee and tea, all accompanied by lively folk music to provide a wonderful atmosphere. Many thanks to all who contributed their time and to the villagers who went to the trouble to come in national dress, making it even more colourful and

During this quarter we are very pleased to mention three significant birthdays for Christine Mulders 91 years, Lisa Kellerman 96 years and Sinie Weevers 94 years and wish these special ladies along with the other residents who all celebrated in their eighties good health and many more happy years in our village.

A very unique event has taken place in our community hall and was witnessed by the whole bingo group. Inge and Andreas Gurka volunteered to be bridesmaid and best man to Retirement Village News Anniversary Celebration Adolf’s and my mock wedding, officiated by the very brave Maria Lynam. The wedding vows she had us read out to one another had me in stitches since they so uncannily related to our weekly exercise program. Some of our “wedding guests” were caught by total surprise and we had to explain that this was to aid Maria in her endeavour to achieve her qualification as a Celebrant. We thank Maria for choosing us and wish her the success she so richly deserves.

On behalf of the Resident’s Committee, I would like to wish everyone a joyous Christmas and a happy New Year 2018.

Ursula Fober
Village Residents Committee Secretary


A warm welcome to our new Nursing Home and Hostel residents:

  • Mona Hurdis
  • Marita Krabbe
  • Ursula Pump
  • Anna Schirmer
  • Doreen Soballa
  • Margarete Jensen
  • Muriel Pethybridge
  • Waltraud Preocanin
  • Joseph Simiana
  • Maisie Stokoe

We hope you will be happy and feel well cared for during your time with us. We look forward to getting to know you better.

Happy Birthday to all our staff and residents who have recently celebrated a birthday.

Christmas in Malta

Christmas is very important to the people of Malta and its sister Island of Gozo. Most people on Malta are Catholics and go to a Midnight Mass Service.

The Churches are decorated with lights and nativity cribs, ‘Presepju’, built by the church goers. The cribs are decorated with figurines, called ‘pasturi’ (representing figures like the shepherds and angels). The figure of the baby Jesus is put on the main altar at midnight on Christmas night. At epiphany it is traditional to put the three figures of the Magi in the crib.

Cribs were first introduced into Malta from Italy. They were not popular at first. The first true Maltese crib is believed to have been made in Malta in 1617. As cribs became more popular they also became more ‘Maltese’ with people replacing the Italian looking buildings and trades people with local ones. Flour windmills were and are still popular buildings to feature in a crib scene.

By the early to mid 20th century, cribs were thought of as old fashioned and not very popular anymore. To stop the decline a priest called George Preca started a tradition of having a Christmas Eve procession with a life size figure of the Baby Jesus being carried at the head of the procession.

At sunset on Christmas Eve in 1921, Fra Diegu Street in the town of Hamrun was crowded with children and adults ready to take part in the first procession. In those days, street lighting was very poor in Malta and so many people brought lanterns with them to help them see their way during the procession and to shed light on the statue of Baby Jesus carried shoulder-high by four boys. The different types of lamps included, gas powered bicycle headlamps, oil lamps used on farmers carts, colored paper lanterns, Venetian lights, palm fronds and olive branches. The idea became very popular with people of all ages and so the very special Maltese traditional started. These processions are still popular today and form part of the Christmas Eve celebrations.

Maltese houses are often also decorated with cribs with ‘pasturi’ figures like the shepherds and angels. Large figures of the baby Jesus are sometimes put behind windows or in balconies and lit at night. Houses are also decorated with Christmas wreaths, candles and all sorts of other decorations. Every household also has a Christmas Tree decorated with light bulbs, tinsel and Christmas decorations.

Kathy Eberl

It’s just a puzzle

It is just a puzzle isn’t it? No, it’s not just any puzzle. If you take a closer look at the photo you will see some familiar faces and shapes.

In our Garden Terrace Wing we have a group of residents who enjoy puzzling. Birgit Hellwig, one of our staff members came up with the novel idea of using photographs that would have some meaning for the residents as they work and pick up the shapes to form a picture.

So she found someone who used our images to make the puzzles. Now when our keen puzzlers start to build their puzzles they see their own faces and familiar buildings come together.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our residents, staff, volunteers, family members and friends.