Porta Caeli House: The presence of the Holy Spirit is evident

“Porta Caeli House is a beautiful place, but no one is getting cured here; they are in their final days being loved and made comfortable.”

Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma’s Porta Caeli House is not only a beautiful facility but a comfortable home for those in their final phase of life. It’s a place where the dying can be treated and loved in a dignified manner.

Dan Coleman of Tulsa is a volunteer caregiver who wants to be by the side of guests in the absence of their family. “There is a certain amount of despair in dying alone, and no one should have to be in that position,” says Coleman. “It could be me, or it could be anybody, and I can’t imagine that.”

Guests at Porta Caeli House are living out their final days. “The average stay is around eight days,” says House and Volunteer Administrator Mary Nole. “Sometimes, a guest’s stay is longer. And a few have actually recovered enough to go home.”

Porta Caeli’s program is designed to nurture not only the guest, but the guest’s family. Sometimes what the family needs is a break. “Our home provides crisis relief for caregivers who are unable to manage on their own during those last, intense and demanding days of caring for a dying loved one,” says Sharisa McDaniel, Director of Porta Caeli House.

Porta Caeli is not to be mistaken for a medical or hospice facility. Before being admitted, guests must be enrolled in a hospice program and have a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) in place. The guest’s hospice program dictates the medical plan of care and our staff and volunteers carry out that plan.

Because Porta Caeli is home to the dying, volunteering can seem intimidating. When Coleman was asked about the potential emotional side effects from his new position, he said, “I have given it a lot of thought and even though it will be sad, it is important that I am here…that someone is here.” He says he strongly believes in the mission of the organization.

“We can dignify them and honor them by not being afraid,” he added. “By sitting by their side and just listening to their stories and their wisdom before they go on to heaven.”

Porta Caeli House shows Christ’s merciful love to guests and their families in a loving environment, enables dying with dignity, and helps to demonstrate within our community that dying is the natural conclusion of life on this earth, not something to be feared or avoided. 

Right now, Porta Caeli is in need of compassionate volunteers who are willing to give time to these precious souls in their final days. In addition to caregiving and companionship for guests, Porta Caeli volunteers can help with front desk reception, preparing meals and snacks, clerical tasks, household cleaning and gardening. For more information on how to become a part of this invaluable team, visit

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