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Inside Saint Therese of New Hope-A Special Resident Story

Last July, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Barb Hemberger joined Saint Therese of New Hope as its Director of Sales & Marketing. Through her work at this landmark in the northwest suburbs she has gotten to know the residents and staff and witnessed first-hand the challenges and victories of those most touched by the events of this past year.

As she reflected on her experiences at Saint Therese of New Hope, Barb said “I especially want to share how hard the employees work to keep everyone safe; how patient and flexible our residents are as they adjusted to the new world; and how understanding and adaptable the families are, and have been, during this odd and scary year.”

For Barb, one of the blessings of working at Saint Therese of New Hope has been learning more about each of the residents and hearing their stories. “Each of our residents adds to the fabric of Saint Therese and together, their passions, memories and stories is, in part, what make Saint Therese of New Hope such a special place.”

One  of the residents at Saint Therese of New Hope has kept herself occupied with her passion – art. We are excited to share with you her story.

Jeri Gilkey, Artist in Residence

Did you know that living among  the residents at Saint Therese of New Hope is an artist? Jeri Gilkey probably wouldn’t call herself an artist, but the modest mother of four from St. Cloud, said she has always dabbled in art and always loved to draw. In fact, in high school one of her first forays was designing tombstones for the Kollman Monumental Works in St. Cloud.

She also worked at Herberger’s department store and designed the original rose that was used in its logo.

While she attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and took art classes at the St. Cloud Teacher’s College, Jeri said for the most part she learned on the job. The job that became her bread and butter was painting signs, both interior signs and on windows, for J. C. Penny. Another claim to fame – a charcoal portrait of a man was shown at the Walker Art Center.

Since moving to the Saint Therese of New Hope residence in late 2019, Jeri has kept herself occupied quietly painting in her apartment. She does all kinds of painting, except watercolor, and particularly likes pastels, oils and colored pencils. She also likes doing portraits and said one of her favorites is the one she did of her dad. “I really got his likeness,” she said.

A self-described lifelong learner, Jeri (who’s turning 96 this month), said she’s now trying to learn how to crochet!

Jeri’s beautiful art pieces are proudly displayed in her home at Saint Therese of New Hope. Stay tuned to read more stories about our extraordinary residents across all our campuses!