Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald came to the Houses of Providence 11 years ago. Fr. Fitz as he is fondly called, has lived here longer than the vast majority of residents.
His vocation as a priest brought him from Ireland to Canada in 1961 where he spent much of his time as a principal in Catholic high schools. In retirement, he spent 10 years working with Sister Anne Schenck CSJ welcoming new comers to Canada and helping them to integrate into our society. Coincidentally Fr. Fitz performed his work with newcomers just across the street from the current location of the Houses of Providence.
When it was time for him to start looking into a long-term care home, Providence seemed like the natural choice for Fr. Fitz. He had spent his life in the east end of Toronto, working in the Providence community and with the Sisters of St. Joseph who had opened the Houses of Providence. He is very happy to call Providence home.
“I am a happy camper!” exclaimed Fr. Fitz.
COVID-19 has brought about many radical changes in Fr. Fitz’s daily activities. He misses socializing at meal time with his neighbours and friends from the Houses and attending Mass, where he sits in the front row. “These changes have been tough to bear,” shared Fr. Fitz. Despite these changes and also experiencing the loss of a friend of 50 years due to the virus, he attributes his comfort to the care he continues to receive from the staff at Providence. “They are friendly and there is real compassion and understanding,” he said.
Fr. Fitz has a strong bond with the staff in the Houses. “I personally know the staff. I know about their families, their lives. I know about their hopes and dreams. We are friends.” he noted. “The connection is special; they really care for us.”
Aside from the compassionate and humanitarian care he receives from the incredible staff, he is getting through these dark days of COVID by maintaining communication with family.
Being quite technologically savvy, Fr. Fitz uses his iPad and computer to stay connected with family members in England and Ireland. He communicates with them frequently and keeps entertained with his television and Netflix.
With the understanding that the changes being experienced are only as a result of the pandemic, Fr. Fitz looks forward to attending Mass and spending time with his fellow residents, when it is possible to do so safely again.
Fr. Fitz is just one of the many residents here at Providence who are impacted by COVID-19. A donation to Providence will help create a space in the Houses where residents can gather again, while employing the necessary safety measures through social distancing. They are all missing connection - with family, friends, and each other.
You can make a difference. Will you help us? Donate here.
Strength is. Our residents.
Strength is. Our supporters.
Strength is. Providence.