St. Joseph Residence at Carter-May Home nears completion

The St. Joseph Residence for retired priests is receiving its finishing touches.

The Carter-May Home in Charleston has been renovated and expanded to include two new wings, one of which is the St. Joseph Residence. The project is scheduled for completion in early November. After 14 months of construction, the staff, residents, and those waiting to move in are more than ready.

The recent deaths of several priests in the diocese have served as a reminder of the increasing need for quality assisted-living services for older priests in an atmosphere that honors their years of service to the church and supports continued spiritual growth.

Visitors to the facility have been amazed at the transformation that is taking place. A bright, accessible and well-appointed home with more conveniences, new safety equipment and room for a variety of activities is emerging. And the change is not limited to the building.

On Sept. 14, what was once a muddy construction site was transformed into a beautiful garden and walkway area.

Over 25 volunteers were coordinated by Rebecca Harper and Jerry Davis of AstenJohnson and Vicky Seigler and Pat Boone of Charleston County government offices. Undaunted by the weather, volunteers exchanged suits and dresses for clothes better suited to working in ankle-deep mud. They traded laptops and cell phones for shovels and picks to weed, clear brush, and plant trees, shrubs and ground cover.

These wonderful volunteers truly made the Trident United Way’s “Day of Caring” a day to remember for Carter-May and the St. Joseph Residence. Father Theodore Cilwick, a resident of the St. Joseph Residence, even came out to praise their efforts and offer a blessing.

“I have never seen a group of volunteers work harder,” said Janine Bauder, administrator of the facility.

Seigler and Edna Davis, a master gardener, quickly embraced Bauder’s vision of an outdoor area where residents could enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Davis, wife of AstenJohnson vice president Jerry Davis, planned the garden space and helped direct the volunteers.

Access to the area was further enhanced by the creation of a walkway, coordinated by friend and retired New York City fire chief Dan Svrcek.

Area stores and garden centers including Abide-A-While Nursery, Hyams Garden Center, Brownswood Nursery, Royall Ace Hardware, and Home Depot donated the needed plants and materials.

At the end of the day everyone seemed to agree, sore muscles notwithstanding, that the results were well worth the effort.

The dedication of the St. Joseph Residence is scheduled for Nov. 6, a day we are all looking forward to.

Dorothy Grillo is director of the Office of Social Ministries.