The foundress of the Carmelite Sisters Venerable Mother Angeline Teresa McCrory, O.Carm., recognized the rising need in the Church of providing care for the aging, and in 1929, established a religious community for that purpose. It is a growing community and enjoys an enviable reputation for the excellence of its institutions and for the tender and cheerful love with which the Sisters devote themselves to their elderly guests.
Once the site of the Dominican Sisters Monastery of the Holy Name and known for the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the grounds at 1960 Madison Road, as well as $500,000 were donated by Archbishop Karl J. Alter to the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. The construction of St. Margaret Hall, named for St. Margaret, patron saint of Scotland, and its chapel once again became the site of a tabernacle of the Lord and occupied by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and the 151 residents of the new facility.
The generosity of Archbishop Alter, together with that of the Walter Schott family, enabled the construction to proceed. The George and Walter McDonald Foundation funded the facility’s chapel, and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm assumed the mortgage for the remaining costs. The facility, occupied and staffed by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, was dedicated on Oct. 3, 1962, when it welcomed its first residents.
In his homily at the dedication, Monsignor Edward A. McCarthy noted, “This building speaks of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, of Germantown, New York. It tells of their Christlike devotedness to the aging, for it is they who have responded to the appeal of His Grace to come to us and to operate this Home, and, as a matter of fact, to accept responsibility for the sizable debt which remains on the building… “
Over the years, the facility has seen many renovations and additions. The latest project, finished in December 2018, saw the completion of the front lobby expansion, an update to the first floor, and a renovation of the chapel. The front lobby expansion features a new entrance with additional indoor areas with enhanced natural light for the residents. The outdoor area includes wheelchair accessible seating, colorful plants, and a water feature. The first-floor hallways were updated with new flooring, wall coverings, and lighting. In addition, the library, parlor and front solarium were redecorated.
Naturally, as care for the elderly as evolved, so has the care provided at St. Margaret Hall. Today the facility offers a licensed capacity of 99 residents in skilled nursing care, nine in short-term rehabilitation, and 35 residents in assisted living. The home also provides hospice, respite and pastoral care services. In addition to daily Mass, modern satellite TV services, a computer area with assistance available if needed, lectures, movies, cooking classes, gardening, yoga, a walking group, and, of course, the ever-popular bingo games. Also offered today are Restorative Nursing services, wound care, a comprehensive therapy department, geriatric psychiatric services, and an onsite clinic offering visits from a dentist, a podiatrist, an optometrist. and an audiologist.
The Carmelite Sisters, along with their lay staff, continue to provide loving care at the five-star rated St. Margaret Hall to their residents both in the long-term care units and in the assisted living, or rehabilitation units. Continuing the mission and vision of their foundress, the Carmelite Sisters now sponsor, co-sponsor, or serve in skilled nursing care/assisted living and/or independent living facilities in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ireland. The Carmelite Sisters continue the work of serving the aged and infirm and to perpetuating the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in long-term health care.