#VillaHeroes: Shelly Muraca, a warm welcome to the Villa
If you’ve entered the doors of St. Joseph’s Villa at all in the past year, odds are you have come across this friendly face. Shelly Muraca is a receptionist and an integral part of life here at the Villa – for staff, residents and essential caregivers.
Shelly first arrived at the Villa 23 years ago, working part-time as she juggled raising her two daughters. At that time, she spent most of her time working in reception but would offer a hand wherever was needed – whether it be assisting nursing management office, clerical or administration.
“My early days at the Villa were such a blessing,” said Shelly. “It showed me what it meant to be part of a fulfilling mission and vision.”
But as her kids grew older and she became inspired by her relationships with the Sisters at the Villa, Shelly pursued a full-time opportunity at the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent, better known as the motherhouse. The motherhouse was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph and housed over 30 residents, providing retirement living and long-term care services.
“I was drawn to the motherhouse for their commitment to compassionate care, much like what I knew at the Villa,” said Shelly. “I worked there until it closed in late 2019, which was bittersweet. It’s always hard to leave such a tight-knit community, but I knew great things were ahead in my journey.”
When the motherhouse closed, it just made sense for Shelly to find her way back to the Villa. She was fulfilled by the work in long-term care and directly impacting the lives of so many people. As part of the St. Joseph’s family, she was even able to keep in touch with so many of her former colleagues, making the transition that much easier.
“Being back at the Villa just feels like home,” said Shelly. “It all seemed to come full circle in such a challenging year, which is pretty special.”
‘Fueled by the mission of serving others’
But no matter where Shelly found herself along the way, she has always been fueled by the mission of serving others. It’s her favourite part of her role. In the last year, she’s developed meaningful relationships with residents and has become a part of their daily routine. She’s been a guiding light for any residents who haven’t been able to see their families; a familiar face to chat with, check in on and share sentimental moments with.
Though she is proud of the impact she’s had on others throughout the pandemic, Shelly is eager for the day when families can enter the Villa at their leisure and spend time with their loved ones.
And for herself, she wishes for much of the same; to spend time with her loved ones. Especially with her daughters, Marissa and Jessica, who are the lights of her life.
“They are such great young women,” said Shelly. “We’ve bonded especially close in the hardships of the past year, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. They’re truly my best friends.”
Until then, she’ll continue to be a bright light of our days at the Villa. We are truly blessed to have her.–.