By Stephanie A. Patka
Following a Mass in the Archbishop Noll Chapel in Huntington, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters made a historic mark on their legacy with the final signatures of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and President Sister Beatrice Haines to formalize the sale of the Holy Family building and 10.6 acres to Saint Anne Communities.
During the Mass, Bishop Rhoades commended the work of the sisters, “The care of the elderly sisters and the future care of many other of our elderly brothers and sisters is a work of the Gospel. I believe our collaboration in this work will bear much good fruit, continuing the holy mission of the Victory Noll Sisters as missionary servants, a mission that will continue as it inspires our Saint Anne’s communities.”
Adding to the retirement care for aging sisters that the Victory Noll sisters built, Saint Anne Communities will expand to also include care for the aging public in the Huntington community as well. Construction for the addition to the Holy Family Center will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2017. The addition will enable Saint Anne Communities to house an additional 40 rooms for assisted living residents. Saint Anne’s will continue care for the sisters who are already in residence at Holy Family.
Dave Deffenbaugh, Saint Anne Communities’ chief operating officer, said that this sale is a happy fit and is a celebration of the work that the sisters have done. “Today we are memorializing the beginning of a journey together. We have a huge admiration for the Sisters and the mission that they’ve carried out. Now, it’s time for them to be served and we have the ability to do that.”
Sister Beatrice, who has served as the President of the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters for the past 8 years said that it was a couple of years ago when the sisters began addressing the aging population of their sisters and how they wanted to continue providing healthcare for them. A large concern for them was for the building which was in need of renovation and updates. From that, Sister Beatrice said, “was born a desire to partner with someone that would help us meet the needs of the sisters, but would help to preserve the legacy of our service to the aging in the broader community. The partnership with St. Anne’s has become just that.”
Deffenbaugh echoed the same sentiments. “St. Anne’s had been talking about our strategic and campus planning for the last couple of years. We had been questioning how we were moving forward and right in the middle of the discernment process was a letter from Sister Beatrice.”
In January of 2015, a market study showed an increasing need for healthcare in the broader Huntington area. The legacy of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters will be able to continue. “I like think of this partnership as a new birth. For myself and for my sisters, this is what is exciting. It is a wonderful match with a shared mission to work with the underserved.”
Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters have owned and operated an over 100 acre campus on the west side of Huntington. The land used to be owned by Our Sunday Visitor with their dairy farm occupying much of the space where the chapel and Holy Family building now stand. It was through the generosity of Archbishop Noll that the farm was sold in 1930. In the following years, Archbishop Noll set aside funds to build the chapel and the infirmary, now called Holy Family. In 1955, he donated this money he had saved to the Sisters. His donation was a substantial beginning to cover the cost of building the chapel and infirmary which were completed in 1960.
In addition to the expansion by Saint Anne Communities, the Victory Noll Sisters are preparing to sell 100 acres of their property to the ACRES Land Trust, Fort Wayne. The sale will ensure that the land is protected as a nature preserve.
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