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St. Dom’s students extend mercy to hospice patients in Lewiston

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON – After learning about hospice care from Dr. Shauna McElrath, a specialist in palliative care for Central Maine Healthcare, fifth graders at Saint Dominic Academy lent a helping hand to the mission of caring for people experiencing advanced, life-limiting illnesses.

“Last year, we were able to have Dr. McElrath come in and speak to the students about what she does as a hospice doctor and exactly what hospice does for its patients,” said Theresa Dufour, a fifth-grade teacher at St. Dom’s.

Fifth grade students from Saint Dominic Academy with items they collected to donate to hospice patients and patients’ families at the Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice in Auburn. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

It was a message that sank in and inspired the students to take up a collection for the Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice, also in Lewiston.

“We have been collecting for hospice during Catholic Schools Week,” said Jen Poliquin, another fifth-grade teacher. “We collect items such as lotion, toothpaste, shaving cream, puzzles, games, and other items.”

Discover Catholic Schools week take place in November, while Celebrate Catholic Schools Week took place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.

The large collection of items won’t just offer comfort to patients. “We also collect items for the family members of the patients that may be staying with their loved ones during their final days,” said Dufour.

Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice is non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life by providing innovative and compassionate medical care. Founded in 1966, it has grown into Maine’s largest independent healthcare organization providing health, hospice, and care management services. Nobody is turned away due to an inability to pay. To learn about ways that you can join the fifth graders in supporting the organization, visit

During the pandemic and despite the challenges of adjusting to modified in-person instruction and distance learning, the number of inspiring service projects at St. Dom’s and all Maine Catholic Schools has only grown.

“Saint Dominic Academy is more than just a school. It is a community and a family rooted in strong traditions like service to those in need around us,” said Alanna Stevenson, principal of the Lewiston campus. “I am blown away by the ever-present support offered by our faculty, staff, school families, and students. We continue to find strength in the Lord and in one another.”

Discover Catholic Schools Week will take place next school year on Nov. 14-Nov. 30, followed by Celebrate Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2022.

Saint Dominic Academy is a Catholic, co-educational college preparatory day school under the patronage of the Diocese of Portland for students in grades Pre-K through 12. The Academy has campuses in Lewiston and Auburn.

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