December 13, 2016

Light of Hearts Villa featured in Northeast Ohio Catholic magazine

Light of Hearts Villa, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, is featured in the November/December issue of "Northeast Ohio Catholic"—the magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The article highlights the extensive angel display at Light of Hearts Villa, which is on exhibit daily during December and January.

The full text of the article is below:

Angels are among us at Light of Hearts Villa

Some people say visiting the angel display at Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford marks the beginning of the Christmas season. The angels come in all sizes, shapes and colors, including one fairly recent addition, a Kwanzaa angel beautifully dressed in a purple robe.

The collection consists of more than 2,000 angels, plus some unique creches and Nativity sets. Many are displayed in a large, custom-built case adjacent to the reception area in Light of Hearts Villa. The Villa is a residential care facility located in the former Lumen Cordium High School (1963-1987), which was a ministry of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Bedford. The high school was renovated and the Villa opened in 1989 to provide seniors with independent and assisted living suites, as well as respite and memory care units.

“The angels were gathered over the years, beginning with Christmas gifts the sisters received,” said Sister Regina Kusnir, director of pastoral and special ministries for the Villa. She said Mother Joseph Slavic, a former superior of the Vincentians, decided many years ago to begin displaying the angels. “It was a work of love for her and the tradition continues. Many of the angels have value; others have untold value because of sentiment,” Sister Regina said.

When the Vincentian Sisters merged with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 2004, the angels were gifted to Light of Hearts Villa, which is now a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

In fact, Betty Hickle, Light of Hearts Villa executive director, said angels have become identified with the Villa. When a current or former resident dies, Light of Hearts presents a special, spun-glass, lighted angel to the family, along with a card explaining its significance. “Many people have told us the angel helps them feel the presence of their loved one,” Betty added.

A two-month process begins around Thanksgiving for Sister Regina and a few trusted helpers to unwrap, clean and position the angels and international Nativities for Christmas and then to reverse the process at the end of January. This is the 10th year for the display, which is open to the public during December and January.

The display is only one part of the Christmas decorations at Light of Hearts Villa. Betty said dozens of Christmas trees and other decorations, including a scene from an old, downtown Cleveland department store, brighten the facility and its chapel for the holiday season. Sister Regina and Betty invite everyone to stop by and see the display, “and we wish you all a blessed Christmas,” they added.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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