CHARLESTON — The building may have been finished, but the St. Joseph Residence at the Carter-May Home was not complete until it was blessed.
Benefactors and supporters celebrated with Bishop Robert J. Baker and Dorothy Grillo, director of the Office of Social Ministry and coordinator of the project, at the special ceremony Nov. 6.
Bishop Baker thanked those who contributed to the building: the individual donors, many of whom came from Florida; the Charlestonians; Grillo, for her tireless efforts to see the facility through; and all who supported the effort.
“All of you are to be not only commended, but lauded,” he said. “You are modern day saints who turn ideas and ideals into realities.”
The largest donation came as a bequest from the late Dorothy U. Leonard of Charleston. Her niece, Mary Eileen Leonard, a member of Sacred Heart Church, said she was thrilled to see that the money was put to such good use.
In blessing the house, the bishop asked the patron, St. Joseph, to entrust all efforts and labors to the Lord.
“For, as St. Paul tells us through his first letter to the Corinthians, ‘No one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ,’ ” Bishop Baker said. “What we do here is for the Lord, as we act in his name to reach out to our senior priests at St. Joseph Residence and all our residents at Carter-May Home.”
In crediting the many people who helped the project come together, Grillo thanked the staff at Carter-May and particularly Janine Bauder, who makes her job a loving ministry.
“I give her credit for making Carter-May feel like a true home to all the residents and for maintaining the highest standard of care throughout the construction process,” Grillo said.
The Carter-May Home was founded in 1929 as a Catholic home for women in peninsular Charleston, thanks to Msgr. James J. May, his sister Marie T. May, and Mrs. Patrick Carter. The early residents were able to attend to themselves, but needed the security of residential care. The home moved to West Ashley in 1971.
The new St. Joseph Residence is the first diocesan-sponsored assisted living facility. The locale offers retired clergy the chance to live in a community setting and continue their priestly ministry as they are able. They can retire in dignity and enjoy the camaraderie of their brothers in Christ.
Father Theodore Cilwick and Father Edward Mullen have already moved in.
The Diocese of Charleston is working with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, who operate Providence Hospitals in Columbia, to create a facility in the Midlands.
An endowment has been set up to help continue operations at the residence. To find out how to contribute, call the Office of Social Ministry at (843) 402-9115 ext. 15.