South Boston’s Marian Manor looking to relocate

Marian Manor, a fixture in the South Boston community for the past 50 years, is looking for a new home.

Named Marian Manor because it was opened in 1954, the Marian year, the nursing home started out with 150 beds for the elderly. Over the years, the facility has grown from the two buildings that formerly housed Carney Hospital, to four buildings, a chapel, an auditorium and over 350 beds, becoming the largest nursing home in the state.

The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, who have administered the nursing home since it opened, have increased the size of the facility to an entire city block in order to house more residents and provide better care for the elderly. Now they are finding that there is no more room to expand.

But expansion was not the sisters’ only concern. They have also found it difficult to operate in a facility where two of the buildings are over 80 years old, parking for staff and visitors is sparse and some buildings are not air conditioning compatible.

Independent studies done by Marian Manor have also confirmed that people increasingly prefer independent and assisted-living care over a strict nursing home setting.

"The way long term care is provided has changed and is changing," explained Sister Mark Louis Randall, O.Carm., who became administrator of Marian Manor seven months ago. "The push is to keep people out of facilities as long as possible and give them other alternatives such independent living and assisted living before they then need to go to a nursing home."

Sister Mark, her predecessors and the board of directors looked into adding independent and assisted living developments to the present site but found that such a project would be “too difficult” and “very costly.”

Seven years ago, the process of finding a new site for the nursing home began. The search began in South Boston, but soon branched out to the Greater Boston and South Shore areas.

"Property is extremely expensive here so then we widened our circle a little and we started to look outside of the Greater Boston area," Sister Mark said. "We didn't want to go too far away because we wanted our staff to be able to go with us and the families to be able to visit the residents."

As of the last week in August, the sisters had secured an eight acre site adjacent to the Quarry Hills Golf Course in Quincy, just seven miles from its present location. Sister Mark hopes that this close proximity will allow the majority of the 480 employees and nine Carmelites to remain with Marian Manor.

The land, which was formerly a quarry area, will have to be studied before a new nursing home can be built. Sister Mark described the location, which looks out on the golf course as both “spectacular” and “magnificent.”

"It is exciting, but it's also scary for people. We've been here for so long and this is all we've known," she said. "We love South Boston and we'd have liked to stay here if we could have found land... but we have to think about the needs of people that's what's driving this. We need to think of the future of the care for the elderly and build something that will bring us into this new millennium of care for the elderly."

Part of the future of elder care is providing independent and assisted living quarters to better “serve different populations of the elderly.”

A section of the new Marian Manor will be reserved for independent living for those who need minimal care. A portion of that section will be for assisted living for people with beginning stages of dementia.

"Traditional assisted living is not what we are going to be doing," stated Sister Mark. "We've been doing studies in the area and they have too many assisted living beds now, but what they don't have is a special one for people with beginning stages of dementia."

The new facility, which will accommodate roughly 350 people, will house between 200 and 240 nursing beds, that will be designed to provide more private space for each resident than rooms at the present Marian Manor.

"We want to build a building with more of a neighborhood-type of concept rather than big long halls... we want to build clusters of rooms--in a clustered area, residents feel a little more at home where it isn't such a 'big institution' feel."

Sister Mark sent a letter to residents in June to inform them that the sisters were looking for a new site to house Marian Manor. A recent article in The Boston Globe stating that the present South Boston location would have to be sold within one year caused a stir among residents, their families and the staff.

Sister Mark, who had hoped to brief the residents and staff of the potential move before the story hit the papers “prematurely,” spent the week allying fears and answering questions.

"The property does not have to be sold in a year," she told The Pilot. “That is inaccurate.”

"It's not going to happen right away," she said. "It will be between three and five years before we'd be setting foot into a new building," she said, adding that the move is more likely to be at the far end of that time frame.

Until them “we will responsibly look for someone to come here and get the best use of the property,” stated Sister Mark. “We certainly want something that will serve the needs of the community.”

But it will be difficult to break the ties that Marian Manor has formed with the South Boston community.

Many of those living in Marian Manor have been residents of South Boston all their lives, explained Sister Mark. She also noted that at one time Marian Manor was one of the largest employers in South Boston. Marian Manor also sponsors local sports teams and lends its auditorium to the Dorchester Heights Association for its monthly meetings.

"We've tried to be good neighbors," she added.

The decision to leave South Boston was “not an easy step” but “you have to do hard things sometimes,” explained Sister Mark who compares the current situation to the vision of her order’s foundress Mother M. Angeline Teresa McCrory, O.Carm.

"Her vision was to care for the American elderly... she began our community because she felt that there were needs that were not being met at the time in 1929," said Sister Mark. "This project carries on that tradition-- that times change and you have to move with what the needs are for this current generation of people, so we are following in her footsteps in that sense, in trying to carry out that mission of caring for the elderly."

Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...