New facility at St. Odilia to offer care at end of life

| November 17, 2010 | 0 Comments

A new facility will bring eight chronically or terminally-ill people to St. Odilia in Shoreview for end-of-life care in the next few months.

A 6,000-square-foot facility named Saint Therese at St. Odilia is scheduled to open in January. The building, formerly the priory of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers, currently is being renovated to accommodate up to eight residents at a cost of $700,000.

When the Crosiers moved out in 2007, they left behind 4.3 acres of land and three buildings. A 20-member campus expansion committee discussed what to do with the buildings.

“We brainstormed all kinds of possibilities for all three properties,” said Tom Schumacher, parish administrator. “We came up with over 100 ideas on how to use this space — a home for unwed mothers, college dormitory, youth gathering space, that was high on our list.”

Examining the possibilities

Eventually, the parish decided to use one of the buildings for a rectory for priests and another for staff offices to free up space in the church and school building for a new pre-school program. That left the priory, which the committee continued to address.

Eventually, the members started looking at a facility for seniors and consulted with Catholic Senior Services, whose mission is to strategically coordinate and enhance Catholic, parish-based housing and services for older adults throughout the archdiocese. That led to a referral to Saint Therese of New Hope, a senior care facility.

Enter Barb Rode, president and CEO of Saint Therese, who immediately threw her passion into opening a facility designed to offer end-of-life care, including hospice, in a setting that feels homey for both residents and their families.

Residents will have their own rooms, with space for family and friends to gather around them. Also, they will be in close proximity to both the parish and school, which will mean regular contact with parish staff, parishioners and students at the school.

“There’s not enough of that; we’ve segregated the generations [in American culture],” said Rode, whose company is providing the funding for the facility. “This will certainly help bring the generations back together.”

She already is at work helping to develop a program for eighth-graders at the school to come over and spend time with the residents. The students will make welcome baskets for residents, plus decorative baskets for their belongings. This is one of, hopefully, many ways in which members of the parish and school can help the residents.

Healthy society

But, Schumacher noted, the benefits go both ways. “I think that the exposure to the residents will be a great asset to our school and our parish community,” he said. “It’s a whole circle of life. There is a lot of interest in the parish [in this facility]. People are asking how it’s going. It’s exciting to hear.”

What both Rode and Schumacher are particularly excited about is that the residents will be able to look out their windows and see children playing on the school playground. Then, they can look out the other side of the building to see a wooded area that includes a pond.

“You can tell how healthy a society is by how well they care for their children and their elderly,” Rode said. “This campus is a perfect example of a healthy society.”

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Category: Local News