By Maria Wiering
CATONSVILLE – For decades, Daughters of Charity residing at St. Agnes Hospital lived in a former nursing school dormitory, sharing the 1950s building with administrative offices. In October, the nine sisters on campus got a place of their own – a newly renovated, 16-bedroom residence next door to their old dorms.
The renovated 13,000 square-foot building is beautiful and long awaited, said Daughter of Charity Sister Vincentia Goeb, who works in mission integration for the hospital. A new residence has been planned for more than five years, she said.
“We love the mission of St. Agnes hospital, and [the house] allows us to be part of that with our presence,” she said. “Our longevity here of 150 years has made it very special.”
The residence, St. Agnes’ Hackerman-Patz House, was constructed to provide temporary lodging for family members of St. Agnes patients with extended hospital stays. Baltimore philanthropists Willard and Lillian Hackerman donated $2 million for the house, named to honor their parents. They have donated funding for five similar residences at The Johns Hopkins University and Sinai Hospital, Baltimore; St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson; Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis; and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Allentown, Pa.
Willard Hackerman is president and CEO of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, which constructed St. Agnes’ Hackerman-Patz House from an existing office building.
Based in Baltimore, Whiting-Turner is also responsible for St. Agnes’ $200-million campus expansion, which includes a new patient tower, renovations to the old patient tower, parking garages, and a 60,000 square-foot medical office building that will host the hospital’s new cancer institute, cardiovascular institute and other specialty treatment centers.
The house has 16 bedrooms with private bathrooms, a chapel, a kitchen, community room and dining room. St. Agnes hosted its blessing and open house Nov. 5. The Daughters of Charity will use the house until they leave St. Agnes as they age or assume other responsibilities. The average age of the sisters in their province – which includes the Midwest and Eastern United States – is 75. The duration of the sisters’ stay in the Hackerman-Patz has not been determined. It could be a decade, said Lindy Small, president of the St. Agnes Foundation. The house will begin hosting patients’ families when the sisters are no longer using it.
The Daughters of Charity will use the house until they leave St. Agnes as they age or assume other responsibilities. The average age of the sisters in their province – which includes the Midwest and Eastern United States – is 75.
The duration of the sisters’ stay in the Hackerman-Patz has not been determined. It could be a decade, said Lindy Small, president of the St. Agnes Foundation. The house will begin hosting patients’ families when the sisters are no longer using it.
Five of the sisters living in the Hackerman-Patz House work at the hospital.
Bonnie Phipps, president and CEO of St. Agnes Healthcare, said having sisters on campus demonstrates the hospital’s Catholic identity.
Use of the house is “wonderful for the sisters, because it allows us to keep their presence on our campus, which allows us to demonstrate the mission daily,” Phipps said.
The Daughters of Charity founded St. Agnes Hospital in 1862, carrying on the health care mission of their order’s 17th-century French founders, Ss. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac.
For years, the Daughters of Charity staffed the hospital as nurses and administrators, distinctive in their white cornettes, a popular head covering at the time of the order’s founding.
The sisters’ continued presence on the campus is significant, Sister Vincentia said.
“It doesn’t matter what jobs we have in the hospital,” she said. “It’s so gratifying when people see us, to see their reaction, and to stop and talk to us, to ask us for prayers.”
Copyright (c) Nov. 6, 2012 CatholicReview.org