Passing the Torch
D’Youville Transitions to New Sponsorship
For the past 60 years, D’Youville Life & Wellness Community in Lowell has provided local seniors with compassionate long- and short-term care while expanding services to meet their ever-changing needs.
In recent years, however, the founding Sisters of Charity of Ottawa recognized that a transfer in Catholic sponsorship would be required.
“Due to the diminishing number of sisters, there was a clear need to move on to another stage in our journey,” said Sister Prescille Malo, provincial superior of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. “We want our mission, which has always been about the people we serve here in Greater Lowell, to continue.”
To preserve and advance D’Youville’s ties to the Catholic Church, as well as its continued leadership in the field of senior care and state-of-the-art adult rehabilitation services, its Catholic sponsorship is being transitioned to the Germantown, N.Y.-based Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. In addition, D’Youville will join The Carmelite System, a Catholic nonprofit health system also based in Germantown, N.Y.
Under the sponsorship of the Carmelite Sisters, there will be no changes in D’Youville’s services to residents and tenants or to the diverse workplace culture of its approximately 550 employees. President and CEO Naomi Prendergast and D’Youville’s locally based governing boards will remain in place.
“D’Youville is not being sold. It’s not an acquisition. We explored petitioning the Vatican to become self-sponsored, meaning D’Youville would be responsible for our own Catholic identity, but aligning with The Carmelite System is simply a great match,” said Prendergast, who initiated contact with the organization followed by a group site visit in the fall of 2017. “The lay analogy I give is two people are getting married, and each is bringing his or her own set of traditions. Together, we are moving forward to create something new in a way that honors both sides.”
“The Carmelite System is delighted to have D’Youville Life & Wellness Community join us,” said Paul MacGiffert, president and CEO of The Carmelite System. “By aligning with like-minded organizations such as D’Youville, we can advance the Carmelite mission, as well as D’Youville’s, in even more meaningful ways.”
An integral part of the local physical, cultural and health care landscape, D’Youville is located on a 75-acre campus in the Pawtucketville section of Lowell. The nonprofit organization offers a full continuum of elder care housing and health care, including short-stay rehabilitation and transitional care, specialized long-term nursing care, Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related special care, traditional and memory care assisted living, and affordable housing for independent living.
According to Prendergast, The Carmelite System is committed to supporting and advancing D’Youville’s mission of caring for Greater Lowell’s aging population with respect, dignity and compassion while enhancing its own legacy of service to elders in Massachusetts. Other Carmelite senior living communities include Marian Manor in South Boston, Mount Carmel Care Center in Lenox, and St. Patrick’s Manor and Carmel Terrace, both in Framingham.
Donations earmarked for D’Youville will continue to enhance the quality of life of its residents. Past donor-funded projects have included a senior-friendly park with walking path, a balcony to provide residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias with safe access to fresh air and the outdoors, The Saab Residence (assisted living for all income levels), two 14-passenger buses to involve residents in community events, and a combined dining and activity space in the dementia special care unit.
According to Prendergast, additional growth will follow as residents’ needs continue to evolve.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to see how we’ll look in 10 years,” she said, “but with health care changing so rapidly, you can be sure we’ll be as innovative then as we’ve been up until now.”