The care center celebrated with an outdoor concert.
CANTON Maybe the secret is holy water and prayer, lots of it.
The House of Loreto hosted an outdoor concert Wednesday for its 60 residents in celebration of avoiding the dreaded COVID-19 virus.
Like all nursing care outlets, the private, faith-based facility at 2812 Harvard Ave. NW has been closed to visitors since mid-March.
"We prayed a lot," said Sister Marilee Heuer, an administrator. "And Father (Nicholas) Mancini blessed the whole house with holy water."
The Transistors, the husband-and-wife team of Tom Clark and Janet Tillitski-Clark, performed hits from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
"Since they couldn’t come in, we decided we’ll give an outdoor concert," Sister Heuer said.
House of Loreto residents don’t have to wear masks but every staffer does. Sixteen nuns, members of the Congregation of the Divine Spirit, oversee the facility, which has 60 additional staffers.
According to the latest figures from the state, Stark County has had 891 total reported COVID-19 cases and 105 deaths. Nursing care facilities have been especially hard-hit.
Sister Janet Harold, an administrator, noted House of Loreto isn’t alone in managing to avoid the virus. Other facilities also are working hard to fend off the illness, which can be devastating to older adults in particular.
But perhaps what makes the House of Loreto different is the nuns live on the grounds in separate housing.
"We’re blessed and we’re grateful," she said.
The Clarks, longtime volunteers, performed at the facility once a month before the outbreak. Tillitski-Clark said she had missed it.
"This is our first outdoor show here," Tillitski -Clark said. "We’re calling this our `Senior Woodstock.’"
"Remember, if you rush the stage, you still have to maintain a distance of 6 feet," Tom Clark joked.
The pair, retired English teachers, said residents respond to music.
"Even the ones who have trouble with cognition can remember all the words," she said.
Sister Harold said the average age at House or Loreto is 91. They include Richard and Pauline Payne, who will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on July 1.
"These are the survivors," she said.
Tillitski-Clark praised the House of Loreto staff’s dedication.
"The nuns have done a bang-up job keeping everybody safe," she said.
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