Wisdom of the Ages: Shirley Lanaghan

Meet Shirley Lanaghan! Shirley moved into Villa St. Francis on June 18th, 2015 just days before our Villa St. Francis 25th Anniversary party. She jokes that we threw her a party for her move in.

What did you do for a living, Shirley?
“ I was primary a homemaker, raising my three kids. However, twice a year I went into the banks and the savings and loans businesses to figure out the interest on client accounts.” “When I was in high school I trained on a comptometer. I would go into the Savings and Loan organization in May and November to compute the interest and then would go to the bank in June and December. It was very interesting work.”

What is your favorite childhood memory?
“I have so many wonderful memories of childhood. One of my favorite memories is waking up on Christmas morning to open presents with my sisters and brothers. Back then we each didn’t receive a gift. Rather we received a game that all of us could play.”

What is your favorite memory of adulthood?
“My wedding day,” Shirley said. “There was a blizzard that day and I didn’t think that Randy would be able to make it.” Shirley’s biggest accomplishment has been when she and her husband Randy helped raise their three local grandchildren. Her daughter and her husband worked and so Shirley and her late husband Randy brought the three grandchildren to all of their activities and sporting events.

What do you like most about living at Villa St. Francis?
“If you can’t be at home, Villa St. Francis is the next best place to be. The chapel was the most important factor in deciding on a community to live in.” Shirley goes to Mass six days a week in our Villa St. Francis Chapel. Shirley enjoys bingo, word games and brain teasers, horse racing and the live musical entertainment. She was never much of a reader until she moved to Villa St. Francis. Her apartment is close to one of our nooks and she has read the Autobiography of Barbara Walters and books from Mary Higgins Clark.

What kind of music do you like?
Shirley likes music from the 40’s and 50’s. She and her husband Randy used to listen to Gospel on the television right before the Lawrence Welk Show. Her husband was musically inclined and was able to play music by ear. At one point he owned 9 harmonicas which the grandchildren now have.

How would you suggest a person live a happy life?
“Try to do as much as I can for other people,” Shirley said. I have had a very happy life. My husband was very good to me and I have three wonderful children.” When giving advice to my 21-year old granddaughter, I say “Try to pick friends that you will always be proud of. There is so much peer pressure these days for kids.” Find someone who respects you. She always remembers that her husband Randy had a wonderful sense of humor.

Villa St. Francis Celebrates 25th Anniversary

20150618_132815Villa St. Francis opened our doors on June 20, 1990 – that means we’ve provided care for the elderly on Milwaukee’s south side for a quarter-century!

“25 years is a major milestone,” said Sr. Ramona Dombrowski, Interim President/CEO of Villa St. Francis. “It offers the Felician Sisters a chance to express our gratitude to those who support us as we provide for people, and for the neighborhood.”

In a time of transition and turmoil, Villa St. Francis can be a rock and a resource for family members – and a source of joy for the elderly.

“It’s interesting,” said Sr. Dombrowski, “because we still receive responses back from family members to say what a difference we’ve made not only in the life of a resident but also his or her family.”

To mark our 25th anniversary, Villa St. Francis hosted a neighborhood gathering on Saturday, June 20 with food and ¬– of course – music! It was wonderful to have residents and loved ones gather to celebrate.

Villa St. Francis is blessed to have your support. Thank you!

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Welcoming Our New President & CEO, Tony!

Tony-27s PhotoThe Board of Directors at Villa St. Francis recently announced that our new President and CEO will be Anthony “Tony” LoDuca. Over the course of his career, Tony is a native to Milwaukee and grew up on the south side. He is excited to be back on the South side and ready to embrace the opportunities in Milwaukee.

He served as Senior Vice President of Vocational Services at Curative Care Network (formerly Curative Rehabilitation Services) for over fifteen years in the Greater Milwaukee Area. His most recent responsibilities were with St. Coletta of Wisconsin where he served with distinction for sixteen years, twelve of them as President/CEO. St. Coletta, a Franciscan-sponsored ministry, delivers residential and vocational/day services and supports for approximately 300 people while employing 400 part-time and full-time staff. Welcome back to Milwaukee Tony and we’re glad that you are with us.

Please help us welcome Tony to Villa St. Francis!

Wisdom of the Ages: Jadwiga Korasz

IMG_0089Meet Jadwiga Korasz! She moved from Poland to the United States in 1990. Jadwiga (pictured left) has lived at Villa St. Francis for nearly 3 years and loves the people here. She’s the artist who decorates our bulletin board in our Lobby! Her daughter, Barbara Rajzer (pictured right), translated most of our questions. Jadwiga knows some English, but she speaks mostly Polish.

What did you do for a living?
Jadwiga held 3 jobs most of her adult life to support her two daughters financially. She worked as an accountant and a pharmacy technician. She also cared for her own mother until end of her mother’s life.

Tell us about your fondest memory of childhood.
Jadwiga lived in Poland during WWII and had a difficult upbringing; her parents divorced when she was a young child. However, she fondly remembers spending time in the country on vacation.

What books or music do you love?
Anne of Green Gables is a much-loved story for Jadwiga; her favorite music is classical – especially Chopin.

What do you like most about living at Villa St. Francis?
Jadwiga is an avid bingo player and loves the music here, too. She’s also an active member of Polanki, a Polish women’s group that has met in the Dining Room at Villa St. Francis years. Jadwiga also likes the exercise classes!

Has there been anything that you wanted to do – but never did?
Jadwiga did attend English courses at MATC, but she wishes she had learned English sooner so she’d be able to communicate better.

What advice might you give to a person who wants to live a good life?
Live by good ethics and standards. Try to help others when you can.

Wisdom of the Ages: Dorothy Jacobson

dorothy-jacobsonDorothy has been a resident here for a month or so, and already she’s found plenty to do! She set aside a couple minutes to talk with us about “the old days,” and to describe her life at Villa St. Francis.

Tell us about your work or career, Dorothy.
“I worked for a printing company in Milwaukee, as a secretary in the shipping department,” she said. “I was there for 43 years.”

She enjoyed her work, but chose to retire shortly after the family-owned business was sold.

What did you do next?
“I stayed home for one year, and I got bored, so I went and I did cleaning part-time. I worked there for 4 years. Then I decided I was going to stay home again, for about a year. I just got too bored sitting home! So I worked at a hobby shop called Model Empire in West Allis for a couple years.”

“It’s hard,” she said, “when you’ve worked that many years, to all of a sudden: you’re there in the morning and you don’t have to get up.”

Tell us about something that makes you happy?
“I like to watch football, and I like basketball. I like to watch the Bucks, and I like, really, to watch college basketball,” Dorothy said.

At Villa St. Francis, she particularly enjoys watching the fish in our aquarium as well as playing Bingo, cards, and listening to music.

Have you ever gone to see a football game?
“I went to one Super Bowl, in California. It was really cold, we had on every stitch of clothing we owned! It’s so different than watching it on TV, amongst the crowd, with the cheering,” Dorothy said.

What advice might you give to a person who wants to be happy?
“Don’t sit around, and not try doing anything! You’ll get old fast that way,” she said.

Residents “Catch” Brewers Opening Day

Villa St. Francis is home to many avid Milwaukee Brewers fans! To celebrate Opening Day 2015, we wore Brewers attire, served up hot dogs and ballpark food for lunch, and watched the game together in the Garden room.

“We have a good following of the Brewers here,” said Lisa Richardson, our Director of Marketing and Community Relationships. “Residents watch baseball on TV, read the Sports section in our Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and there’s plenty of sports banter in the Dining Room.”


Floyd surrounds himself with Brewers fans.

Villa St. Francis is ready for the Crew to pick up the pace!

Our 25th Anniversary is Around the Corner

Villa St. Francis celebrates our 25th anniversary on June 20, 2015! Since our doors opened on June 20, 1990, we’ve provided superior resident-focused care for the elderly.

To express gratitude to the Felician Sisters, community leaders, and family members of residents past and present, Villa St. Francis is hosting a “garden party” on
June 20th, from 1:30-3:00 p.m., with outdoor mass to follow at 4:00 p.m. We’ll have hors d’oeuvres, music from the Milwaukee Hot Club, and time to mingle with the residents and Felician Sisters.

It’s going to be a wonderful day to spend time outdoors with loved ones and neighbors to celebrate the mission of Villa St. Francis!

Vendors Needed for Transitions of Care Event

Deborah Segrin, our Director of Nursing, is looking for partners of Villa St. Francis to participate in a Transitions of Care outreach event this November.

It’s the FOCUS 2015 Special Session, being held on November 18th at the Kalahari Resort. The theme for the day is The Art & Science of Successful Care Transitions. A table is $60.00 plus $30.00 for the meal for a total of $90.00. Contact Deborah Segrin with the planning committee at or by phone at 414-649-2892. Any interested vendor’s material will need to tie in to the theme of Successful Transitions, which is based on the Seven Essential Intervention Categories by the National Transitions of Care Coalition.

Wisdom of the Ages: Colleen Suminski


Colleen has been at Villa St. Francis for nearly 6 years. She’s 89 years young, and spoke to us with enthusiasm about her career, children, and how to pursue happiness.

What did you do for a living, Colleen?
“I went to nursing school at St. Cloud Hospital. I was a post-op nurse, at first, and then I went to school to learn psychiatry, and spent 20 years in psychiatry, [as a psychiatric nurse].”

“When I moved to Milwaukee, I worked at the VA Hospital. I loved the interaction with the patients. I think our aim [as nurses] was to make life easier for them, and to help bring the patients into reality, and help them accept life as it was. If I could do that, I always felt I had achieved something.”

Do you have a hobby?
“When I first came to Milwaukee, I didn’t do too much until my sister taught me how to bowl. In that effort, I met my husband. Once we got married, I was so busy with children, bowling was the last thing on my mind!”

“I’m a crocheter,” Colleen added. “I crochet mostly afghans, and I make shawls.”

What kind of advice would you give about being happy?
“Be kind to others,” she said. “No matter what it is you do, when you have been kind, you walk away with a feeling of being able to help somebody.”

Villa St. Francis Hosts an Adorable Puppy Social

National Puppy Day was a perfect day to host our latest “puppy social,” a puppy free-for-all with friendly dogs we know and love. The chance to cuddle with a puppy is much-loved and looked forward to by residents at Villa St. Francis. The dogs help bring comfort, a sense of relaxation, and–most importantly–happiness!

“It’s so important to have these dogs visit the Villa community,” said Lisa Richardson, our Marketing/Community Relations Director. “It makes all the difference in the world to a resident’s outlook on life.”

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