Saint John XXIII Home, a non-profit nursing care facility owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, was built in 1970 under the supervision of Msgr. Salvatore P. Mitchell, who was appointed as liaison for Bishop Alfred M Watson.
The Home began operation on June 6, 1971, when the facility received its first resident; and was solemnly dedicated by Most Reverend Bishop Alfred M. Watson on October 31, 1971. Known as the Shenango Valley Home until May 1976, the Home’s occupancy increased slowly over the first five years.
The original intent of the Board of Directors was to operate a residential home with some skilled nursing beds. In June 1972, it was determined that intermediate nursing care was necessary and the proposal was made to convert thirty nursing beds into intermediate care beds. This necessitated many structural changes: installation of an additional nurses’ station, additional heat and smoke detection devices and door replacement to meet the PA. Department of Health Life Safety Code. In October 1976, approval was received for the Intermediate Care Unit.
In April 1981, ground was broken for the building program which would include the addition of seventeen Skilled Nursing beds, a new nurses’ locker room, expansion of the laundry facilities, the present dining room and lounge in the Skilled Nursing area, along with the provision of a general storage area. To accommodate the additional residents and staff, extensive renovation was done in the dietary area.
In September 1976, the Home was the recipient of a bequest from Mrs. Fred W. (Bessie) Ewing which was used for additions and renovations to the Home in the Skilled Nursing area. The Ewing donation was used to finance part of this building project and the dining room and lounge areas were dedicated in memory of Mrs. Ewing, who was a resident of the Home.
From the day the Home was opened in 1971 until 1994, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie filled a variety of positions at Saint John XXIII Home. Three of the Sisters served as Administrators.
Sister Theophane Siegel, O.S.B., the first Administrator, developed plans for the expansion of the Activity Department facilities. Being the wise, educated nurse that she was, she promoted the philosophy that attending to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the residents represented a holistic plan of care.
Unfortunately, her vision of large activity areas did not materialize at this time, but the pressing demand for more beds led to the expansion of the Skilled Nursing facility in April 1982. The board of Directors later approved expansion for an additional 22 Intermediate Care bed area and a dining room for ICF residents. The Sister Theophane Wing was completed and opened in January 1987.
Through all of this expansion and increased occupancy, the same philosophy of therapeutic recreation prevailed as the Activity Department continued its programs. Despite the lack of space, the Ladies Auxiliary planned and executed programs, always successful, and ever creative.
With the passing of Sister Theophane, Sr. Phyllis Schleicher, O.S.B. became the second administrator. Under her administration additional expansion prevailed. Although the call for more beds had been somewhat satisfied, the need for a multipurpose recreation area had not. Thus the planning began again and the Board of Directors approved another expansion.
The third addition of Saint John XXIII Home was dedicated by Bishop Michael J. Murphy on Friday, November 3, 1989. This latest addition included a spacious multi-purpose room, activity staff offices, kitchenette, storage and bathroom facilities, and serves as a center for activities, volunteer programs and social events. Some of these events are sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary.
Because of the increase occupancy after 1982, the existing chapel was no longer large enough to accommodate the number of residents, family member and friend who wish to attend the Sunday Liturgy. On Sundays and holy days, resident of the Home gather in the Center for the celebration of the Eucharist Liturgy.
To defray the cost of the addition, the Board of Directors voted to use the monies of the Memorial Fund. This fund includes large and small donations given to the Home by grateful family members and friends over 18 years. The board also voted to name the addition the Roncalli Memorial Center in honor of Giuseppe Roncalli, Pope John XXIII.
In 1990, Sr. Phyllis was elected Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. In 1991, Sr. Stephanie Campbell, O.S.B., succeeded her as administrator, serving from 1991-1994. Under her direction the Home was incorporated and officially named John XXIII Home. She began a renovation project of the nursing units. Sr. Stephanie left to return to Erie in 1994 to write the history of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie.
Roberta T. Lamont became administrator on July 1, 1994. With strong financial, administrative and healthcare backgrounds Ms. Lamont focused on resident care and staff development and the impact on the Home of an ever changing healthcare environment. With that in mind a long range planning committee was appointed to formulate plans that would ensure that the mission of the Home will be carried into the future. As we looked toward continued growth under her direction the renovation of the nursing units was completed in 1995. Renovation of the reception area, chapel, lounge and personal care dining room, weaving a bright fresh style to the Home was completed in time for our many 25th anniversary celebrations during 1996.
In 2000, Ms. Roberta Lamont retired from John XXIII Home after six years of dedicated quality leadership. Her final endeavor before her retirement, working with the Board of Directors, HHSD architects, Hudson Construction and Third Age, plans were laid for construction of a new Personal Care unit on the campus of John XXIII Home.
In April 2000, Mr. Kirk Hawthorne was hired as the Administrator of John XXIII Home. He joined the home with10 years of diversified experience in Long Term Care working in Activities, Social Services, Admissions and long term care Administration. The hiring of Mr. Hawthorne coincided with the ground breaking of the most significant construction project the home has undertaken since opening in 1971. This addition included; a new personal care unit, renovation of the existing personal care unit, redesign of the kitchen, new kitchen equipment including large walk-in freezer/cooler, new employee hallway, formal dining room for families, smoking lounge and what is now referred to as our Bistro. The total project cost was $6.5 million and was a significant step in meeting our Mission, meeting the needs of the community and preparing for the upcoming healthcare changes anticipated over the next 15 years. Upon project completion in 2001, the Home’s capacity shifted to 90 Nursing Home beds, 98 Personal Care beds and 9 Independent Living apartments, for a total maximum capacity of 197, which is consistent with our capacity at this time. Upon project completion, the new unit was blessed by Bishop Donald Trautman and a time capsule embedded behind the date pillar at the New Personal Care entrance to commemorate the event.
From 2001 through 2012, the focus of the home was to enhance the care delivery system to be prepared for the ever changing world of healthcare. With the level of care diversification that was accomplished with the past projects, construction within the home was limited to “face lift” items to keep the facility appealing and in good working order. In addition, the Boutique/Gift shop was created, as well as, air conditioning added to corridor and common areas.
November of 2013 marked the completion of the New Front Entrance to John XXIII Home, which incorporated a “resident and family requested” covered picnic area and completed the walking loop for residents, families, visitors and staff. This addition was funded in large part by memorial contributions made to the Home over the past ten years and included the much loved and enjoyed “dual water falls”, designed by Cottage Gardens.
On Sunday, April 27, 2014, John XXIII (Angelo Giusepee Roncalli) was canonized by Pope Francis in an unprecedented ceremony witnessed by huge crowds (@ 800,000) gathered at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Under the guidance of Bishop Lawrence Persico, the Home official name became Saint John XXIII Home on October 14, 2014 as filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Over the years, there have been numerous construction projects, renovations and a multitude of “brick and mortar” happenings, however, the constant theme has remained the same as directed by Monsignor Salvatore Mitchell in 1971, “take care of the people”. To this day, our dedicated and caring Board members, Management Team and care givers, strive to fulfill our Mission and Saint John XXIII Home enjoys an excellent reputation for quality care for all past and present residents and is affectionately referred to as “Cadillac of Nursing Home” by many people in the Shenango Valley.