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St. Anne's History and Heritage

Humble Beginnings

In 1925, a small group of Croatian/German nuns—members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ—left their convent in Illinois to establish a new motherhouse in Central Pennsylvania. They were guided by the mission and vision of their foundress, St. Maria De Mattias, who urged her Sisters to always trust in God's providence while showing love and compassion for "the dear neighbor."

Led by Mother Paulina Schneeburger, the pilgrim Adorers settled on a 125-acre working farm outside of Columbia, PA, which was formerly owned by a Senator from Lancaster named Robert Quay. The Sisters moved into the rambling old 22-room mansion on the property and converted it into a convent. Though the Sisters barely had any money, their simplicity and hard work endeared them to the local community — they could often be seen working in the fields and tending dairy cows in their long habits beside hired farmhands.

It wasn't long before the Sisters' new life in Pennsylvania began to change. They became caretakers for two elderly men, and following their call to serve Christ and others, welcomed more guests to the convent. In order to accommodate these new guests, a large annex was built behind the convent, renovations to a nearby tenant farmhouse were made, and in August, 1928, St. Anne's officially opened its doors to 24 elderly residents.

Changes and Expansions

Over the years, St. Anne's underwent several changes and six building expansions. In 1941, both the tenant farmhouse and the mansion were expanded and renovated. That same year, St. Joseph's Convent was built "up the hill" behind St. Anne's. While most of the Adorers moved from the old mansion into the new motherhouse, 18 Sisters remained housed at St. Anne's. In those days of few lay employees, the Sisters were responsible for most of the nursing, housekeeping, cleaning, cooking and laundry.

In 1956, the old Quay mansion was finally demolished and a new building constructed in its place. The next major expansion of St. Anne's occurred in 1972 with the construction of a new wing, bringing the total capacity of St. Anne's to 121 beds. In 1973, St. Anne's was certified for Medicaid, and in 1977, licensed by the State of Pennsylvania. A few years later, in 1985, building upon the vision of Sr. Annunciata Lorenzo and under the leadership of Sr. Carmela Guito, the independent living cottages—St. Anne's Village—began welcoming residents. Finally, in 2000, the modern, 121-bed Health Care center was opened. Renovations the following year to Personal Care and the Apartment area brought total capacity to 242.

Over Eighty-Seven Years of Excellence

For over 87 years, God's providential care has continued to bless the lives of thousands of residents, families and employees at St. Anne's. It has truly been a bond of faith, hope and love, handed down through the decades from a courageous and humble group of Adorers.

From such simple beginnings to the complexities of the 21st century, care for "the dear neighbor" will always be the heart and spiritual legacy of St. Anne's. As stewards of the Adorers' mission, we at St. Anne's will always treasure the heritage of the past while seeking new ways to better serve our community in the years to come.

ASC Sponsorship of St. Anne's

St. Anne's Retirement Community is sponsored by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, United States Province, located in St. Louis, MO. For the Adorers, sponsorship expresses the healing mission of Jesus through a formal relationship to specific works. The U.S. Adorers have a long and rich tradition of sponsoring educational and healthcare facilities and social service agencies. This enables the Adorers to hold these ministries in trust in the name of the Catholic Church for the good of society. Sponsorship is a means of expanding the Adorers' services to help many more people in need, with particular emphasis on women, children and the elderly.

The term sponsorship originally came into use as a way of recognizing the important role that founding communities must continue to play within the ministry. This is vitally true in the relationship between St. Anne's and the Adorers. For it was the Adorers who founded St. Anne's in the 1920s and nurtured its growth over the decades through a mission of dedicated and compassionate care. As partners in ministry, St. Anne's and the Adorers continue to draw upon their legacy of love for "the dear neighbor" while collaboratively seeking more effective means for ushering ministry and mission into the future.

Top row from left: Sr. Jan Renz, Sr. Barbara Hudock, Sr. Janet McCann
Bottom row from left: Sr. Francine Schuster, Sr. Maria Hughes

Sponsored by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ
Address: 3952 Columbia Ave, West Hempfield Twp., PA 17512 - Phone: (717) 285-5443 - Email Us

St. Anne's Retirement Community, a Catholic retirement community for senior living in PA, serves Residents from throughout central Pennsylvania. If you're looking for a personal care facility, we hope you'll consider dropping by our beautiful Lancaster, PA for a visit!