104-year-old resident Rafelita sits with with her family in her Mercy Housing home.

104-Year-Old Thrives with Mercy Housing

At 104 years old, Rafelita is one of Mercy Housing’s eldest residents. For 14 years, she’s lived at Mercy Housing’s Clare of Assisi apartments. Raised in the San Luis Valley, her joyful youth was spent on a ranch. She attributes her long life to growing up on a ranch, remembering: “fresh food, time with friends and nine siblings — can’t beat that. I could run wild in fresh air, with the people I care about, that’s what life is about.”

After her husband of 50 years passed away, she was living alone and moved into Mercy Housing. Rafelita loves how easy it is for family to visit her at Clare of Assisi. Her daughter currently lives with her and takes care of her as well.

“She’s been a mainstay in our community since joining us in December 2003. Rafelita is a shining example for all of us, and always has a smile and hello for everyone. This year she celebrated her 104th birthday with us. It was a huge event with over 75 friends and relatives in attendance. Five generations. We are truly blessed to have Rafelita living here.” — Resident Services Coordinator Bonnie Good

Rafelita’s son, a Vietnam veteran, is impressed with his mother’s neighbors’ hospitality at Clare of Assisi. “They always ask how we’re doing and invite us to dinner. This is a great place because it allows her to live close, routinely see her family, socialize, and get healthcare when necessary. She’s never made one complaint about this place. I enjoy meeting the other veterans living here as well.”

Rafelita has loved painting, crocheting, and cooking for her entire life. She worked in laundry services at a hospital for many years. After dabbling in potato farming, she returned to laundry services. Rafelita retired in the 1970s, but quickly decided to go back to work for a few more years after missing her busy schedule. She currently spends most of her time entertaining 30 grandchildren.