Jay Ortega learned about the Sisters of Nazareth from tales told by his Uncle Joe, raised by the caring nuns when he was orphaned as a young child in San Diego.
Jay still remembers the love and gratitude expressed by his uncle. And so Jay found himself knocking at Nazareth House in Fresno decades later, wanting to return some of the kindness shown to his favorite uncle.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Jay and wife Cecilia, organized Bingo games twice a week. Cecilia died several years ago, but the decade-long tradition continues. Jay and his little dog Daisy faithfully continue to show up.
Virginia Dalena has spent eight years offering her time and talent to residents. It's personal, both her mother and mother-in-law were Nazareth House residents. She watched volunteers do so much for so many and signed on to help out, too.
Her mother's favorite activity was going to parties, listening to music and sipping punch. So daughter continues the merriment with monthly parties featuring music, games, food and laughter. It's her way of honoring her mother and spreading the love. Who doesn't love a party! "Nazareth House is a place of love and compassion and will always be close to my heart," she says.
Rosa and Ray Lazalde felt the peace and love of Nazareth House when they walked through the front door looking for people to help care for Rosa's ill father. They met the Sisters and a dozen years later say they still feel a sense of peace, love and spiritual comfort .
They walk through the door twice a week to entertain and bring fun to residents. " Blessed," that's the word they use to describe their experience as volunteers.