Cura Hospitality: Enhancing Life Around Great Food
By AJ Keith, Communications intern
Food has always marked celebratory occasions and holidays, and the Sisters of Charity are grateful to those who feed them every day at the Motherhouse and Mother Margaret Hall: Cura Hospitality Food Services. While Cura serves to feed the Sisters of Charity residents, the employees have been equally fulfilled by the loving spirit of the Congregation in a spiritual way.
Cura Hospitality – which was recently transitioned from Aladdin Food Services – was founded in 1996, according to Jeff Wyder, the food service director at the Motherhouse. The Motherhouse had an existing staff for their food services, but decided to reach out to a third party. Aladdin Food Services began serving the Sisters of Charity in 2016 with most of the former staff returning to help meet the needs of the Sisters. “We have a number of employees that have been working here upwards of 20 years and all of them have strong relationships with the Sisters,” Jeff says.
The staff of Cura is wholly dedicated to their mission of, “enhancing life around great food,” as stated on their website. To better meet the culinary needs of the Sisters, they have hired executive chef Eric Strong and dietetic technician Kelley Whims. Making nutrition and health their primary goal, Cura fuels the Sisters of Charity to continue to serve and live the Gospel values. “I think that there’s something personal about food and being able to provide it,” Jeff says. “Three times a day we are taking a concern away from people and it’s rewarding to serve people who are focused on the concerns of others.”
Among the employees of Cura Hospitality, everyone agrees that serving at the Motherhouse has been one of the most enriching places to work due the graciousness of the Sisters. In addition, the employees of Cura have noted the care that the Sisters have for the employees. For example, when an employee was having surgery, the Sisters were first to send their thoughts and prayers. “I’ve served in three settings similar to this one,” Jeff says. “The Sisters are the most outwardly grateful that I have found.”
Rebecca O’Leary, the catering and event manager for Cura, has been working with the Sisters of Charity for 21 years and, during that time, has created lasting friendships that go beyond a customer-employee relationship. Rebecca, who was taught by the Sisters of Charity in grade school, was pleased with the opportunity to re-connect with her mentors as friends. After being hired, Rebecca immediately made a point to introduce herself to as many Sisters as possible and found that the Sisters were willing to do the same. She compares her work to a “home away from home” and the Sisters to her family. “The atmosphere is simply amazing,” Rebecca says. “This is my second family.”
The Sisters have reciprocated this same sense of family. The employees are grateful for being invited to special events such as First Vows and Jubilarian celebrations and the Sisters are equally grateful for their attendance. S. Joyce Brehm, who is a resident at the Motherhouse, spoke to the great care that the employees take in their work and their meaningful friendships nurtured each day. “I’ve lived here for 16 years,” S. Joyce says. “They have the chore of feeding the Sisters and employees and they genuinely care for the well-being of the Congregation.”
When the day ends for the employees of Cura, they can rest assured that they have fed the Congregation, but their own spirits were also fed by their loving relationships with the Sisters of Charity. Cura Hospitality will honor their mission statement to offer, “genuine dining services that advance the well-being of all those [they] touch” to ensure the health of their friends in the Sisters of Charity.