2021-04-01 18:00:00
2021-05-01 01:00:00

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Young Man Plants Peonies

Young Man Plants Peonies

Mercy Home received a gift of peonies from a parishioner at St. Robert Bellarmine, Fr. Scott’s parish, to be added to our West Loop Campus grounds. Steve Ritzema, who was tasked with planting the flowers, was concerned about the plant’s survival, however.

“The peonies came in this bin, and the roots were all tangled,” he said.

Ritzema decided to research proper care for the peonies, and after doing a little digging, found that the flowers were not supposed to be transplanted. To make matters worse, Ritzema also learned that peonies needed warm weather to grow, and the cold had yet to leave Chicago.

Despite the plants’ grim prospects, Ritzema enlisted the help of Campbell Home young man Maurice, and together they planted the peonies by the fountain on our West Loop Campus.

A senior in high school, Maurice had been struggling in school, and Ritzema thought working with the flowers might help him gain perspective on his personal obstacles.

Once they were done placing the peonies in their new home, Ritzema charged Maurice with caring for the plants. Establishing meaningful routines and rituals is crucial to the ARC framework, and Ritzema hoped the new responsibility would have a positive impact on him.

Maurice took a keen interest in caring for the flowers, making sure to water and tend to them every day. As a show of support, Fr. Scott had the statue of St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes, moved to watch over the peonies. And against all odds, they began to thrive.

As the first flower has begun to bloom, Maurice has continued to care for them and says he enjoys the opportunity to work outside.

Kudos to Maurice and Steve for their efforts to beautify our Home!

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