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Death and resurrection – behind the scenes

by | Aug 5, 2011 | Daughters of Charity, Vincentian Family

We have heard the excitement of the celebration of the merger of four Daughters of Charity provinces into one. The following is about some of the  dying and rising that was involved “back home”.

Just about 5 years ago it would have been unthinkable t0 predict the close of the Seton Retreat and Conference Center on the grounds of Mother Seton’s National Shrine. And yet it was but one of many changes set in motion by the decision to merge provinces.

Fast forward to a an official Facebook page Provincial House Transformation  which writes

“Even though the purpose of St. Joseph’s Provincial House has evolved throughout the years, there are still many areas of the building that are no longer utilized. Because of this, new opportunities are being explored. The house was originally designed to be the location of the residency, leadership, chapel, and ministry preparation for the Daughters of Charity.

Since then, the magnificent chapel has become a Minor Basilica dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and to where she has been laid to rest, St. Catherine’s Nursing Center has leased an area of the house to provide nursing care and rehabilitation to lay people, and retired Daughters of Charity have come to reside in the house (St. Vincent’s Care Center for nursing care, and Villa St. Michael for assisted living).

All this provides for a  “back story”. The story tells of resurrection to meet new needs.

Recently the Daughters of Charity broke ground for low-cost affordable senior apartments that would be developed from an underused wing of St. Joseph Provincial House on South Seton Avenue. Representatives of Emmitsburg’s Catholic community, the Daughters of Charity funding and development partners and the Town of Emmitsburg gathered on July 12 for what was called the Provincial House Transformation Groundbreaking Ceremony.

“Sister Claire Debes, Visitatrix for the Daughters of Charity, told the group of around 100 people that with the arrival of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg in 1809 that “the seeds of a wonderful ministry of education and service to those in need” had been planted. However, as the needs of those whom the Daughters served changed so the Daughters needed to change.

And now for some questions about other instances of dying and rising in the Vincentian Family.

  • How many Vincentian Family institutions have we seen close?
    • One need only think of the monumental loss of St.Vincent’s Medical  in lower Manhattan NY and what it meant to the people it served and to the Sisters of Charity who had given their life’s blood along with the medical staff.
  • How many have risen to serve in a new way?
  • Which of our institutions are now endangered?
  • How can they be transformed to meet new needs?
PLease join the conversation by clicking on the Comment link for this story.

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