The Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament is a Catholic religious congregation of priests and brothers who serve in parishes and hospitals, and minister to the needs of the poor and marginalized in society. As aging members of the congregation who had cared for so many needing additional care themselves, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine were there to help.
In the 1980s, the Diocese of Cleveland identified the need to expand long-term health care services for aging religious and diocesan priests in Northeast Ohio. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine responded to the call by converting a portion of their motherhouse at Mt. Augustine in Richfield, Ohio, into Regina Health Center (RHC), a state-of-the-art nursing facility dedicated to serving aging religious and others needing supportive services.
Around the same time, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament saw the need to begin moving aging priests and brothers to a place where they could receive appropriate and needed health care. The congregation was one of the first 22 religious orders to collaborate with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine to ensure that its aging brothers and priests would be cared for well into the future.
Father John Thomas Lane, SSS, pastor of Saint Paschal Baylon in Highland Heights and the local superior of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, said his congregation was blessed to be part of the initial planning stages for the facility all those years ago. “Regina Health Center is a special place of prayer and vocation where our members can be together. The chapel is at the center of the building and is the first thing you see when you arrive through the main entrance. It is amazing,” Fr. Lane added.
Since opening in 1993, RHC has cared for 36 members of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, including four members currently living at RHC. “The members have been grateful and gracious and we are thankful to serve these members who have enriched the lives of others while here,” said Janet Cinadr, RHC director of nursing.
Father Michale Noreika, SSS, current resident and member of the congregation, said he understands his limitations and appreciates the care he receives. “I can’t think of a better place to be. Through my many years of ministering to the sick and elderly, I visited numerous nursing homes. Few can compare to Regina Health Center,” he added.
Fr. Lane said caregivers at RHC have helped the congregation’s members transition to their new lifestyle and accept their new limitations, while making it feel like home. Both Chris Detzel, registered nurse for the congregation, and Fr. Lane specifically acknowledged the work of Sister Margaret Taylor, SIW (former admissions director), Shawn Mickle, director of social services, and Cinadr for working behind the scenes to ensure that rooms are available and new members feel welcome during an emotional time.
Fr. Lane exclaimed, “Everyone does an excellent job. It is a second home to us.”