by Carol Anne Dauerbach

Ed. Note: This article is about a wonderful celebration held at St. Joseph Villa in Flourtown on Feb. 29, Leap Year Day. It was written by one of the daughters of the bride and groom, who have been married for 64 years, are in their 90s and are residents of Saint Joseph Villa. This was the Villa’s first ever Wedding Vow renewal!

Daughters Rosemary and Carol were able to join their parents Michael and Frances Dauerbach at the Villa’s Anniversary celebration. The loving couple have been married for 64 years. (Photos by Denise White-Christiansen {CandidShotzbyDenize}, a receptionist at St. Joseph Villa who donated her services. She can be reached at denizewc@msn.com)

When I arrived at Saint Joseph Villa to attend the renewal of my parents’ vows, I first said a quick hello to dad. He was already dressed for his part as groom, so I went to see if the bride needed any help. Mom was ready, too — dress, makeup, earrings, veil, even flowers. The staff had gathered everything mom needed. I saw my mother radiant and happy.

The Renewal Ceremony was beautiful. Music sounded, bridesmaids and a ring bearer stood ready; some women helped to keep the bride hidden. It was so dear. Everywhere I looked, I saw the staff’s loving touches.

Because dad can’t hear at all, Villa Chaplain Father Frank Farsaci, OSA, helped him along when it came time for the renewal of the vows. But, let me tell you, even though she is at the Villa because she sometimes struggles with memory, my mother repeated clearly and sincerely every word Father Frank said, and she looked at dad each time she spoke. A number of women near me shed as many tears as I did!

I was struck by the simplicity of the celebration, and I felt everyone’s appreciation for all 64 of those treasured years of marriage. I felt that all were one; all were part of this celebration.

I am so very grateful to Maureen Gould, who came up with the idea, and to all the Villa staff who helped — folks from Activities and Nursing, CNAs, Father Frank, Sister Pat Doyle and more. So many pooled their talents to let us all share in the celebration of my parents’ marriage. Every little detail of that activity had meaning that was filled with love.

We had prayer and ritual, bridal wear and decorations, music and refreshments. As everyone congratulated mom and dad and wished them well, I saw smiles everywhere. I had such a feeling of joy. What a wonderful blessing for me to have been a part of my parents’ Wedding Anniversary. What a wonderful blessing for my parents to be at the Villa.

(My parents, Michael John Dauerbach
and Frances Carmela Dauerbach, grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Levittown in the 1950s. They were original owners in Levittown and just sold their house in September of last year. They were
married Sept. 13, 1947, in Our Lady of Pompei Church, Philadelphia. Their children are:
Sister Mary Colleen Dauerbach, SSJ, who resides at St Helena, Wilmington DE;
Mrs. Diane Barker, who lives in Arkansas;
Mrs. Dolores Gwathmey, who is deceased;
Miss Carol Anne Dauerbach, of Newtown, PA, and
Mrs. Rose Freece, of Lansdale.)

Founded in 1968, Saint Joseph Villa (a Sponsored Work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph) in Flourtown offers health care to the retired and infirm Sisters of Saint Joseph and when possible to lay women and men and to members of other religious communities. Learn more about Saint Joseph Villa at www.stjosephvilla.org