A new and innovative apartment complex at St. Anne’s Retirement Community in Columbia, Lancaster County, is continuing a ministry that began there 90 years ago with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
The 54-unit complex opened on the grounds of the retirement community on April 1, adding to its options for independent living with a stunning three-story facility overlooking St. Anne’s bucolic grounds.
Named “The Village,” the apartments are the latest in St. Anne’s legacy of care. St. Anne’s celebrated with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on April 23.
“This is the latest phase in the fulfillment of the mission and the vision of the Sisters that began so many decades ago,” Ken Giovanelli, Director of Pastoral Care, told The Catholic Witness at the grand opening.
“As the years go by, people come to St. Anne’s to give their gifts and share all that they have, and the community builds upon it,” he said.
St. Anne’s is a full-service retirement community offering a continuum of care from assisted living and personal care to independent living on its campus.
“The apartments are modern, new and beautiful, but they are really a continuation of what we’ve always done here at St. Anne’s,” Giovanelli said, pointing to its mission of continuing the healing ministry of Jesus in the spirit of St. Maria De Mattias, foundress of the Congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
Don and Ruth Boshnaugle, members of Mountville Church of the Brethren, are among the first residents of The Village Apartments. Moving to the new facility was a natural fit for Ruth, who worked in one of St. Anne’s dining rooms for 31 years.
“It seems like home for us, especially with the community here,” Ruth said. “We checked out other places to live, but nothing was as good as the apartments at St. Anne’s.”
“Our son and daughter were also happy to see us come here, because it’s close to them,” she said. “My daughter lives up on a hill just across the way, and she can see our apartments from her home, so that makes her happy, too.”
“We moved in two weeks ago, so it’s still so new to us,” Don said. “We haven’t quite gotten everything put in place, but we’re enjoying it here.”
Enjoying food, drinks and camaraderie in The Bistro, a spacious dining area on the facility’s ground floor, the Boshnaugle’s met future neighbors Jack and Marie Grady, who will move into their apartment in June.
“We’re excited to come to the grand opening today, especially to see the place and look at the apartment that’s open for the tour, so we can talk about how we’ll set ours up next month,” said Marie.
The Grady’s, members of St. Leo the Great Parish in Rohrerstown, are moving into The Village Apartments after downsizing from another retirement community.
“I really like the freedom that these apartments will give us as far as not having to worry about upkeep, and the facilities are beautiful,” Marie said.
The Village Apartments open from the first floor into a bright and spacious foyer, complete with cushioned furniture and a fireplace. The Bistro boasts a full kitchen, ample space for seating, and a wall of windows that overlook green space and trees. A meditation room on the second floor features a near life-size statue of St. Maria De Mattias, foundress of the Congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
Apartments on the three floors are suited to meet residents’ needs, with various design options from two bedrooms with two bathrooms to one bedroom with one and a half bathrooms. The apartments have beautifully-appointed kitchens, walk-in showers, walk-in closets and balconies.
At press time, nine apartments remained available for new tenants.
A unique feature of The Village Apartments is the fully-equipped health clinic on the second floor. The dedicated area includes a spacious physical therapy room, a lab, three exam rooms, doctors’ offices and a receptionist area. The health clinic will be staffed by UMPC Columbia Regional Health Center and Select Physical Therapy of Columbia.
For ‘the Dear Neighbor’
In founding the Congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, St. Maria De Mattias urged the Sisters to always trust in God’s providence while showing love and compassion for “the dear neighbor.”
In 1925, a small group of Adorers established a motherhouse on a working farm just outside of Columbia. From their convent, they welcomed guests and became caretakers for the elderly and ill. In 1928, St. Anne’s officially opened its doors.
St. Anne’s Retirement Community continues it care for “the dear neighbor” today. Those who work in pastoral care bring the healing ministry of Jesus to residents, family and staff.
“We are the arms, legs and hands of the Sisters here, who worked hard to build this community. We work to continue the mission, the healing ministry of Jesus,” said Brother John-Daniel Lytle, BFFC, who works in pastoral care.
“This place fosters people’s spirituality,” he said.
“St. Anne’s has core values that we promote as a facility sponsored by the Adorers. We share those values and continue to promote them to employees, and we also involve the residents in it,” said Giovanelli
“At St. Anne’s, you come to hear about the work of Sisters who were former administrators, and you learn about who they were and how they built the community.” he continued. “I’m privileged to be able to share in that, to enter into that life stream. “Mass has been celebrated here every day for 90 years, and the Eucharist is in everything we do.”
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness