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Daughters of Charity break ground
 for senior housing

James Rada, Jr.
Emmitsburg
News Journal

(8/1) 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.

The number of women becoming Daughters of Charity has been decreasing for years leaving many apartments in the building empty. Also, various Daughters of Charity organizations around the country are combining under a single leadership to free up more sisters to provide field service and more-efficiently use their resources. This is causing an additional reduction of the number of sisters in Emmitsburg.

The new senior housing, which will be called the Holy Family House, will be developed in two phases. The first phase will have about 45 affordable apartments for residents who are 62 or older. The second phase will have about 50 units. To qualify for one of the housing units, a resident’s average income must between $10,000 and $40,000 a year.

"Change is good and a sign of life and continued growth," said Lori Stewart with Seton Heritage Ministries.

The Holy Family House will share the building with St. Joseph Provincial House that holds offices for the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg, an enlarged archive for the Daughters of Charity, the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Catherine Nursing Center, Villa St. Michael and St. Vincent Care Center for retired Daughters of Charity.

These other operations will also see benefits from the Provincial House transformation. St. Catherine’s is expected to add patient beds. The archives from different Daughters of Charity provinces will be consolidated at Emmitsburg. The building’s heating and air conditioning system is already being upgraded to the benefit of everyone in the building.

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