Thank you for considering a gift to Holy Spirit Retirement Home’s Annual Appeal. As a non-profit retirement community, we rely upon donations to make necessary improvements and enhance the overall care within our community. Your support will ensure we continue to provide vital services, equipment and programs for the residents of Holy Spirit. Donations received will support Holy Spirit’s annual fund as well as special projects, programs and services.

A Life of Faith, Hope, and Charity

Father Dennis Meinen

“Bloom where you’re planted!” This motto often flowed from the mouth of Fr. Dennis Meinen. Not only did he give this subtle advice to others, but he also lived these words to the very end of his life.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1987, Father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis one year later. After serving in parishes for approximately ten years, his “gift,” as he often called it, made it difficult for him to get around. So, he came home to Sioux City. And for three years he lived at Marian Hall, all the while a restless young priest who refused to sit by idly for the rest of his life; thus, he continued to search for ways to “bloom.” At one point he learned that Holy Spirit’s chaplain was retiring and, with a little help from above, was granted that assignment. Joy. Pure joy. He would be able to serve the people once again.

Upon his arrival, he immediately began to find ways to make himself both known and useful to the people. The creation of Holy Spirit’s first Sunday bulletin came about during these opening weeks and, of course, the insertion of “Humor with a Message.” Father’s quick wit and love of a good laugh often permeated the hallways and rooms throughout the building. Once, while waiting for the elevator, he encountered a new resident. She introduced herself, saying, “I’m new here, and I’m blind.” He immediately replied, “Greetings. I’m the chaplain, and I’m incredibly handsome.” Likewise, Father could often be heard singing along with various individuals to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine.” It always took him quite some time to travel back to his apartment. People just wanted to talk to him, even if only for a minute.

Nothing, however, was more important to Father than sharing the Sacraments with the people. For many, many years he offered Mass seven days a week, refusing to take a day off. And when long lines for Confession kept him well past lunch, he rejoiced. Day or night, Father Anointed the Sick tirelessly. Most evenings he made his rounds among the people, talking and praying with families and friends, or as he often joked, working the crowd. Throughout the years Father was frequently asked things like “Will you be joining your family for Thanksgiving?” or “Will you be with your family at Christmas?” to which he always replied, “The people here at Holy Spirit are my family.”

Father Meinen was a visible sign of how values demand sacrifice. His value was to bring the Word of God to the residents and staff of Holy Spirit. No sacrifice in doing so was ever too great, whether he was walking with a cane or riding a scooter or driving a power chair. Father died in 2023, a flower in full bloom. His legacy? A garden of people who are blooming where they’re planted.