.- A Philadelphia bishop last month blessed Saint Philomena Cottage, a new archdiocesan home for young adults with disabilities.
Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre, who oversees the Secretariat for Catholic Human Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, led the blessing Oct. 23 at the facility in Delaware County.
The event occurred a few months after new renovations permitted residence to three new clients who had difficulty finding a home that matched their complex needs.
Present at the event were James Amato, secretary for Catholic Human Services; members of The Women’s Auxiliary of St. Edmond’s Home for Children; and Denise Clofine, administrator for Saint Edmond’s Home for Children.
During the ceremony, Clofine expressed gratitude for the completion of the project and for the support of the Women’s Auxiliary, who helped fund the project.
“Today is the beginning of a long held dream to have a home like Saint Philomena Cottage where those we serve can continue to be with friends and staff who have become family. There is true love and compassion shared between the two,” she said, according to a Nov. 10 statement from the archdiocese.
“I am deeply grateful to the Women’s Auxiliary who exemplify a deep commitment to our mission. Sometimes in life we are fortunate to meet someone who makes a difference in the lives of others. I have been truly blessed to have met an entire group of women who exemplify dedication, care, and love. Their legacy is so very admirable.”
St. Edmond’s Home for Children purchased the house in November 2017. The house was renovated to include wheelchair accessible bathrooms, doorways, ramps, and elevator lifts.
The renovations were completed over the summer and three ladies from St. Edmond’s Home moved into their house at the end of July. The facility includes a 24-hour nurse and activities such as arts, crafts, cooking, and baking.
Clofine told CNA that it has been more difficult for clients with complex disabilities to find permanent homes after they turned 21. She said the facility was established at the request of parents, and added that families have formed meaningful bonds with the staff of St. Edmond’s Home for Children.
“They have trusted us with their children and their children have been placed [with us] for 10, 15, sometimes 20 years. To have to then take their child to another placement, it’s very, very difficult,” she said.
“We took our best staff - very committed, dedicated. We did not hire from the outside for this hall, [but moved] staff over to the hall who already knew those three young adults really well.”
Saint Edmond’s Home for Children was founded in 1916 by Archbishop Edmond Prendergast to help children with polio. It operates under Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Service and provides intermediate care for children and young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Clofine expressed the importance of providing services to vulnerable individuals in the community. She said the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has a history of charitable service and further added that it was a blessing to open the facility during the pandemic.
“This really has made my whole year, especially in the midst of COVID, we were able to open. It was wonderful,” she said.
“It is our responsibility to do God's work. It is extremely important to help the most vulnerable in our community … We're just so thrilled to be able to do this not only for the three young ladies that are in the hall, but for their families,” she said.
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