By Joanna Puddister King
MADISON – A crowd of about 200 people gathered July 17 to celebrate the completion of The Clarence and Sue Smith Rehabilitation Center and The Tuscany Skilled Nursing Center at St. Catherine’s Village in Madison, Mississippi with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony.
Among the crowd, were several distinguished guests including First Lady Deborah Bryant, wife of Phil Bryant, governor of Mississippi, who is dedicated to improving health care services in Mississippi as part of her office held since 2012. Guests also included Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler, Bishop Joseph Kopacz, Dominican and Franciscan sisters, Madison Chamber of Commerce members and residents and staff of St. Catherine’s retirement community.
Lisa Wilburn, executive director of St. Catherine’s Village, introduced the crowd to the facility. The three-floor tower with 59,000 square feet of floor space features 54 private rooms, with in-room showers and a skilled nursing staff. Wilburn stated that the center has the advancements to give residents the best care with state-of-the-art lighting and activities, a daily living center, a walking path and a spacious rehabilitation gym.
In addition to the state-of-the-art facilities, the nursing center also boasts a collection of beautiful artworks, which grace the walls throughout the building. Most of the pieces come from the collection of the Clarence Smith family, former resident of St. Catherine’s. Featured at the building entrance are two large art instillations on either side of a grand fireplace made possible through generous donations of St. Catherine’s Village employees. The pieces titled Angel in Disguise one and two, are by local artist Ginger Thomas. Full of beautiful hues of blue and gold, the powerful pieces induce a state of calm and peace upon entering the building.
Dominican Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth was thankful for the gift of former St. Catherine’s residents, Clarence and Sue Smith, “a brother and sister with philanthropic hearts,” she said blessing the celebration in their loving memory. To “all of those who gave of their time, talents and treasure to make [the] Tuscany center a beautiful place for residents to enjoy life and for the staff in which to minister,” she offered her gratitude and blessing as well.
Serving as mayor of Madison since 1981, Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler reflected on the vision of St. Catherine’s Village and her over 30-year history with the facility in her city. Hawkins-Butler said that “there is a sweet spirit in this place. . . . This is where God has laid his hands and blessed it in a mighty way.”
Thanking the staff of St. Catherine’s Village for providing such a caring and loving environment, Hawkins-Butler in her powerfully poised voice stated of St. Catherine’s, “There is none like it in this state. There is none like it in the Southeast. And Madison is honored and proud to say that this place belongs not only to Madison, but to those who want to come experience the true healing spirit and the faith of Jesus Christ, because it was built on a vision and a mission of mercy and kindness and hope.”
Bishop Joseph Kopacz, on hand to bless the new facility, said to the crowd that the facility “brings to mind the work of creation. . . . We’re extending really the work of creation when we collaborate with God’s gifts in this world and build something that is for the sake of others, for the sake of community, for the sake of caring for people. Especially this, what they say (is) the last and best chapter of life. Getting ready to return to God, who brought this all into being.”
Housing options at St. Catherine’s Village include independent living in apartments and garden homes, assisted living in Marian Hall, memory care in Campbell Cove and Hughes Center and skilled nursing in Siena Center.
The all-inclusive life care community also offers 160 acres of wooded grounds, unparalleled facilities, a caring staff, companionship, 24-hour on-duty security, protected and beautiful outdoor spaces, access to on-site resident-centered care and a mission-focused environment that encourages residents in all levels to enjoy fullness of life, health and faith.
St. Catherine’s Village is a service of St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. and is sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. The private, gated community is dedicated to providing the best care for seniors as they gracefully age and their needs change in their retirement years.