Nobody knew the vast difference St. Patrick’s Mercy Home would make in this community when it opened its doors in 1957.
Now, reaching towards operating in eight separate decades, the long-term care facility is celebrating its 60th anniversary of providing quality care and compassion to its residents.
“I think the key to what has always happened here in this long-term care facility is it has always been operated in a home-type atmosphere,” Alison Power, executive director of St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, said Wednesday as the home prepared to host an open house dessert party in celebration of the anniversary and to honour the commitment the Sisters of Mercy have had to the home’s mandate since its inception.
“This facility is faith based, and we want people to come here because of that, but it is not all about Catholic. It is about care and empathy for our loved ones who need the kind of and level of care we offer here … and have always offered here,’’ she added.
St. Patrick’s Mercy Home opened under the administration of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Located in the east end of St. John’s, it has a long history of quality care and compassion.
The nursing home is committed to caring for the whole person, respecting the sacredness of life and the dignity of each individual. Its mission is to provide quality and compassionate care for its residents.
Mercy is a way of life at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, which is intrinsic to its operation and enacted by its staff and volunteers.
Nobody knows that better than the congregational lead of the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Elizabeth Davis.
“This resilient, care-giving staff, pastoral care, students who have been here, the doctors, nursing staff, they have all played a part in what is and has been here for 60 years,’’ Davis said.
She said all levels of staff that work at the home are critical in its operation and their dedication is what St. Pat’s was built on and continues to be all about.
She spoke of the past, present and future people who have helped to make the history of the Sisters and care at the home the success it has been.
“All of you have made this a home for the residents,” she said.
St. Pat’s has beds for 210 long-term care patients and employs approximately 400 staff.
The idea for St. Pat’s started in 1954 when then-archbishop P.J. Skinner announced a plan to build a home for the aged and infirm, both men and women, which would be conducted by the Sisters of Mercy. … It would be a home open to all creeds and to all classes with or without sufficient means.
To help fund the project, the 11,000 families in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese were asked to contribute three cents a day to the fundraising efforts in a campaign called Cent-A-Meal.
It was through that campaign and the generosity shown by the community at large that the home opened in September 1957 and has been helping make life easier for residents and families ever since.
The residents-centred approach St. Pat’s was founded on is still prevalent today and those now in charge have worked hard to commemorate those memories during the 60th anniversary celebrations.
“It has been a great year. We have tried to celebrate all sectors of the operation, each floor has had a special tea for residents and staff, and everyone has been given the recognition they deserve for the great work they do,’’ said Joyce Penney, chair of the 60th anniversary steering committee.
“I can’t say enough about our staff. We couldn’t do all this without them. If not for them, the residents would not get as good of a home-style feel as they have gotten,’’ she added.
The original building opened in 1958 with 82 beds. Operation and ownership of the building and land transferred from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s to the Sisters of Mercy in 1958. An extension was constructed and opened in 1985 with an additional 132 beds, to a total now of 214 beds.
St. Patrick’s offers its residents a homelike décor, large rooms that are available to residents and family members for special gatherings, an easily accessible patio garden and an auditorium that provides space for concerts, parties and large gatherings.
Another renovation and extension project for the home was completed in January 1986 so it could continue to provide a safe, comfortable and attractive atmosphere that speaks of its focus on residents.
In 2008, the 50th anniversary of St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, the chapel was rededicated to Archbishop Skinner in recognition of his untiring efforts toward the opening of a home for the aged and infirm. In addition, the St. Patrick’s Mercy Home Foundation displayed a beautiful donor appreciation window, acknowledging all who contribute to the care and well-being of the residents in any way.
For the past 10 years leading up to the 60th anniversary, a host of changes, renovations, upgrades and services have been added to improve the care and service St. Pat’s provides to its residents.
For the past 33 years, Jane Critch, who has worked at the home since 1985, has drawn on the inspiration of a number of Sisters of Mercy to help carry out the mandate of St. Pat’s and its dedication to the residents.
“There have been a number of sisters that have inspired me over the years,’’ Critch said.
“Sister Margaret Williams, she ran a tight ship. She was strict, but she also told us to be proud of our jobs and continue to work hard,’’ she added, explaining that firm but positive nudging helped her and many others to be compassionate and caring individuals not only at work, but in life.
She said there were many wonderful sisters throughout the years, and St. Pat’s would not have come as far as it has over its 60 years without them.