Brookwood Gardens celebrates National Day of Prayer ‘In Defiance of Suffering!’

‘In Defiance of Suffering’ was the general theme of this year’s 2014 National Day of Prayer, celebrated throughout all the Signature HealthCARE  facilities across the country including that of Signature HealthCARE of Brookwood Gardens, located in Homestead, Florida.

Gathered under the outside entrance of the Brookwood Gardens facility, patients, stakeholders, family members and invited guests joined in asking the good Lord to hear their prayers, requests and petitions invoking God’s protection and blessings over the nation and its citizens. Special emphasis was placed on those who have been, and are still confronting struggles associated with sufferings related to their personal, physical, emotional, family and spiritual issues.

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College ministry group provides blankets to Brookwood patients

“The best way to a persons heart is by knitting him/her a colorful blanket.”

With this purpose in mind, students from a ministry group at Miami-Dade College’s Homestead, Florida branch visited Signature HealthCARE of Brookwood Gardens to partner with the facility’s Department of Spirituality, to donate and distribute handmade blankets for patients of its long term care unit. The blankets were handmade by student members of this Christian-based ministry group who call themselves “Unity for Christ.”

Tears filled the eyes of those patients who were both surprised and happy to receive these heartwarming, colorful gifts. But even more tears were shared by the students, as well as their directors and team leaders, Pastor Nehemiah Gwaltney and Dr. Marlene Groomes, Professor of Psychology and Social Services, as they witnessed the true meaning, effects and value of giving.

As Signature HealthCare celebrated the month of March as ‘Teamwork’ month, these students set a beautiful example of the importance of creating a team spirit centered on UNITY, based on selfless giving and caring. As Phil Jackson once wrote, “Strength of the team is each individual member…The strength of each member is the team.”

The strength of this student team ministry was shown by each of their members who visited Brookwood demonstrating support for each other as a team in their spiritual quest and goal of forming unity in action. They did this with the common purpose of sharing love to the patients of this facility. It was obvious that these students achieved their goal by a simple act of knitting blankets that will not only warm the bodies of those patients who received them, but also their hearts and souls.

– Eddie Santos, J.C.D., M.A., M.Div., Director of Spirituality

Brookwood Gardens Chapel – An Oasis for Prayer, Thought and Contemplation

“We need a Chapel in this building” were the cries of various patients during a resident council meeting a few years back at BROOKWOD GARDENS. Though the administrator and many of the Department Heads at that time knew it was a need, the problem was where. But in all things related to the Divine, God always hears the prayers of His people and never ceases to provide.

Such was the humble beginnings of the facility’s birth of a chapel. That provision occurred when it was announced that the new wing that was added onto the structure was going to be opened and inaugurated. Once the patient got wind of that news they started requesting from the chaplain that he please beg the administrator to allow one of those new rooms to be used as a chapel.

Many others in the facility joined in recognizing the need for a place and space for prayer. These included Department Heads, nurses, CNA’s, kitchen and housekeeping staff. The Regional O.P. at the time heard of the cries and admitting that SIGNATURE is a company that does indeed want to provide the patients with the best of care, including Spiritual care and well-being, he allowed the administrator to grant the chaplain a room to be used as his office and the facility’s chapel. Again the question was where. The answer was a no brainer.

As the Lord himself always reminds us, the last shall be first, and so it was decided that the chapel would be the last room in the building, Room 601. This room is perfectly situated in a quiet far off corner of the new wing, where those who come into the chapel or feel the need to speak to the chaplain, can find a space of quietness and tranquility from the hustle and bustles of the main and busy area of the building.

Once chosen the chaplain announced to the staff and patients that it was their job to decide how they wanted to decorate it since he wanted the space to speak to them. With the help of nurses, CNA’s and patients, curtains were bought, chairs donated, messages placed on its walls and symbols of God’s loving presence were hung in a spirit of recognizing that this room was a room where everyone could feel the Divine presence of love, warmth and peace.

Placed outside the chapel, in its entrance, a list of those patients who have passed away during the year was hung, and is continually updated as a tribute and memorial of their lives spent wit us. After a month of preparation the chapel was finally inaugurated with the blessing of the Chaplain and one of the priest members of the Chaplain Advisory Board thus fulfilling and answering the dreams of those who knew that one day God would answer their prayers for an oasis of prayer, thought and contemplation.


Eddie Santos, Director of Spirituality
Signature HealthCARE of Brookwood Gardens



Following this year’s theme proposed by the organizing committee for the National Day of Prayer, Brookwood Gardens in Homestead, Florida, joined Signature HealthCARE facilities across the nation in “Praying for America”.

Gathered in the entrance of the Brookwood Gardens building, patients, family members and stakeholders celebrated together this day invoking God’s blessings and protections upon the United States and its citizens. After opening the event with the national anthem, Chaplain Eddie Santana, Director of Spirituality at Brookwood gave the invocation followed by an introduction of the days activities. Samuel Tate, administrator of the facility, read the presidential proclamation officially recognizing May 2, 2013, as The National Day of Prayer.

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