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Laura Gustafson

By: Laura Gustafson on September 26th, 2019

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Living Your Purpose

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Spirituality can be celebrated in many ways. In senior living communities, religious and spiritual services are included in campus calendars and are an important aspect of residents’ daily lives. Communities offer on-site church, prayer and reflection services that encourage many residents to get involved and meet others who share common beliefs. Memorial services honor those who have passed by praying, singing hymns, and offering words of comfort to family and loved ones. Wesley Village honors religious and spiritual wellness by offering on-site prayer and memorial services, rosary prayer groups, prayer shawl ministries, and a special campus Chaplain, Cathy Nickse.

Residents celebrate their spirituality in any way they wish to. Wesley’s Chaplain Cathy Nickse shares special insight into living one’s purpose and enriching the lives of those around her through her relationship with God and living her purpose.


Words from our Chaplain

I feel as though all of us are born as truly unique individuals, brimming with talents and passions to share with the world.  The truth is, each of us is created with unique and important gifts. In sharing them, we live our unique purpose, and we find ourselves content, grateful, energized, and joyful.  What we choose to offer to the world is as unique as each of us are unique. Spirituality helps us to discover our individual purpose. And living it is vital to our health, happiness and sense of well-being. For me, Spirituality has shown me that I am to speak less about God’s love and instead do my best to offer God’s love. I discovered that my calling is in giving spiritual care, which in this season of life is through Chaplaincy.


I have learned a great deal working with our aging population. Their stories, experience and wisdom are sacred treasures to be discovered. I notice how many of them lean on God, and find peace and acceptance of whatever difficulties arise.  I am so inspired by the depth of their faith and their dedication to making a difference. 


Through their own religious practice they discover that each has something very important to contribute, and knowing that they belong to God, they find within themselves love, comfort and peace; courage and strength; and contentment and joy; no matter what life brings. As God pours love into them, they pour it out. Our residents discover their purpose and calling, and they share it with their families, friends, and fellow residents.


My style of spiritual care for our residents is to meet them where they are, offering support and encouragement when needed. It is rare that I give advice, because I want them to see that they already have great strength, great courage, and great wisdom, and that by seeking God and looking deep within, they already have the answers and the guidance they need. One of the greatest gifts I offer is the opportunity to pray together, which is welcomed and appreciated. And when we say “AMEN,” we both feel a beautiful, loving touch from the hand of God. Being able to offer sincere gestures of faith to one another is important for seniors as they express their spirituality openly.

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The benefit of having a Chaplain on campus is that residents have an ability to form a strong, special bond and relationship with Cathy by participating in the spiritual activities she offers the community like prayer services, hymn sings, and special blessings. Residents come together from diverse backgrounds and listen, share their thoughts, pray, sing and rejoice in their own truth. It’s profound to see the participation during these services and see how it positively impacts the patients and residents who live at Wesley Village.


Want to learn more about life in an assisted living community? Schedule a community visit now.


About Laura Gustafson

My interest in serving a non-profit was heightened when I joined the UMH family over a year ago. I started in a Sales role, but recently transitioned to my position as a Marketing and Development contributor. My former role taught me a valuable lesson which is this: each person has a story to share and their story is unique to them. If we grant each individual the opportunity to tell their truth, we can help them make the best decision towards senior living options. I love working with our residents and their families to learn about them, what their needs are and what they value. In my spare time, I enjoy yoga, running outdoors and making memories with my family.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.