Saturday, June 14, 2014

Meet Our Oldest Parishioner, Hilden Cornell

Darlene Stallings and her Mom, Hilden Cornell
Darlene Stallings and her mom, Hilden Cornell
 From Pioneer News by Mary Baracz

 Mrs. Cornell has had amazing 101 years of life. She is the oldest parishioner at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Mount Wahington, KY.

 I had the pleasure of sitting with Hilden Cornell recently. Some of you who have been around Bullitt County for a long time might remember her. She taught for almost 30 years at Pleasant Grove Elementary, Waterford Elementary, Saint Aloysius School and ended at Brooks Elementary.

On May 9 she turned 101 years old. I was truly inspired by this woman’s example. Even after having lost the majority of her eyesight about 10 years now she still goes on living her life. And is so optimistic. Sometimes I think we are so consumed with the “gimme more” attitude and forget to enjoy life. We want more or need this material thing like a new car or computer to be happy but then when we finally obtain that we need the next thing. We forget the joy in life is the ride along the way.

 As I glanced through her room I took a mini journey through her life. Pictures at the beach and drawings and notes from her grandchildren, great grandchildren and now great-great grandchildren. Her advice for a long happy life—love everybody. It seems like this love and her love for her God and the church has helped her through a lot of hard times from what her daughter, Darlene, shared with me.

 Hilden is a lifelong member at St. Francis Xavier Church and greatly enjoys service and prayers weekly from ministry. Teaching has always held a special place in her heart. “I love teaching,” Hilden says. “I love all the little children.” When she was a teacher she taught elementary, but mostly second grade. She enjoyed being able to combine those two passions in her younger years of teaching by reading the Bible with her class and saying the “Our Father.”

 However, she knows times have changed now. Hilden was always a mother first to her daughter and son, Bobby, and a teacher second. Her daughter recalled her mother going to school every Saturday to finish her degree at Nazareth Academy and in the summer when she wasn’t teaching. But she continues with her teaching today.

 “She’s taught a lot of people here (how to pray) the rosary,” Darlene Stallings said. This year Hilden celebrated the grand 101 with her family and friends with lunch and her favorite mandarin oranges as a treat.

 “I don’t really cake anymore,” she says. This woman has lived a wonderful life and continues to. I hope that I too will be able to have a life as full as hers one day.

 Please join me in lifting this wonderful woman up and celebrating her life.