CELEBRATION OF THE CENTENARY OF PERTH
AND THEOFFICIAL OPENING OF THE
INDEPENDENT LIVING UNITS
19th March, 2021
At last the great day arrived. Having waited for one year on account of the COVID – 19 restrictions, the Celebration of the Centenary of Glendalough Home took on an even greater solemnity and joy; this meant that we could make of it a double celebration, including the Official Opening of the new Independent Living Units, known as the Holy Family Villa. It also allowed us now to have the joy of a group of Sisters from Sydney and Melbourne.
Preparations were in full swing in the days leading up to 19th March; with the help of a wonderful band of faithful volunteers, the Chapel was prepared, the flowers having being donated, chairs added everywhere to accommodate our visitors, since, although the restrictions meant that numbers were to be less, there were still many visitors expected. The whole Home took on a festive look with balloons, streamers and music. Led by our friend, Michelle Tan, the ‘Record’ team came (The Record being the official newsletter of the Archdiocese) and prepared to livestream the occasion.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, was assisted by Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, Emeritus Bishop Justin Bianchini of Geraldton, and some priest-friends, with Father Gordon Howell, our Chaplain and the Resident Priests. The LSP choir was accompanied by a friend of Fr. Gordon Howell and was enhanced by a soloist who added to the solemnity of the event.
In his homily the Archbishop concentrated on the document of our Holy Father ‘Patris Corde’ on Saint Joseph; how appropriate it was; we felt doubly grateful to dear St. Joseph that he should have brought us to this day. Please find attached a copy of the homily.
The readings and prayers of the faithful were read by a Little Sister, a Resident and an Associate.
The offerings were brought to the altar by a Resident in a wheelchair assisted by a Little Sister, a staff member (Karen, the Director of Nursing), and a couple, John and Janet Hughen, very generous benefactors, who have contributed greatly to the construction of Glendalough Home and the Holy Family Villa.
At the end of Mass, before the last Blessing, the message from Mere was read, it touched everyone as we remembered with affection Mother General's visit to Perth where she and Mother Joseph Christine, Assistant General, were present at the blessing of the Foundation Stone for the new Home, the beginning indeed of a momentous journey in the history of our Home here in Perth.
As the Archbishop and the concelebrants processed out of the Chapel, a large number of the visitors followed to the Holy Family Villa. The outside had a really festive air, with balloons and ribbons lining the walkway and the entrance; waiting until nearly all had arrived (including the photographers), the solemn cutting of the ribbon began; it had been arranged around the pillars of the entrance in such a way that four people could cut it! So at the count of 3 – the signal given by the Archbishop – the ribbon was solemnly cut by the Archbishop, Joy, a Villa Resident, Salim Lee, the Architect, and Mother Angela. The applause was loud and joyful; from there the next in order was the opening of the drapes covering the plaque commemorating this day; the Archbishop prayed a prayer of blessing and Frank del Borrello, one of the architects and Marc Jones, the Construction manager, solemnly opened the drapes to display a lovely granite plaque.
Then came the moment the new Residents were waiting for, when the Archbishop went around the units, blessing each room and saying a kind word to the Residents who were there in the Units; it was a lovely moment and they were very proud to show their new Home to the visitors.
The festivities continued back in the Marian Centre, with a champagne toast, the release of balloons (not outside, as this is forbidden) but in the Centre itself, and delicious refreshments prepared and served by our volunteers, to whom we owe so much. The Archbishop was delighted to meet the Residents, their families, and our friends and benefactors.
Our hearts were full of gratitude for this day, the culmination indeed of several years of planning, with Mother Provincial Ann Marie James, Sr. Rose Margaret and Salim Lee and his team at the helm, to bring to completion not only our beautiful new Facility for the Residents, but also the completion of the Holy Family Villa, which provides a home for 12 elderly Residents who are already enhancing the life and joy of the other Residents and some of whom are ready to volunteer to give their services in any way possible.
What can we say about all our Little Sisters who have lived here in Glendalough over the past 101 years, and whose lives and labours have brought us to this day? May we follow their example of love and fidelity to the mission of our dear Mother St. Jeanne Jugan and may we, like them, always be grateful to our friends, volunteers and benefactors, withouts whom all this would not be possible.
We conclude in the words of Mother General for this occasion:
“Let us give thanks together to Saint Joseph for his unceasing care over the past 100 years towards all who live in and work for our Glendalough Home, and let us entrust the future to him, to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Saint Jeanne Jugan who said: “God will help us; the work is His!”.... it to them that we entrust the following 100 years to come!”