SISTER BARBARA: With one out of two children coming back to us, I felt that we really needed to leave the convent and needed to go to a different kind of facility. So, at any rate, I talked with a few people, visited the Arch Dynasties, the Catholic Arch Dynasties of Indianapolis, knowing that there’s this property they had owned of 12 and a half acres in Georgetown. And I had no money, but at any rate I had a mission. So, at any rate, I made an appointment with the vicar, with a few other principals from PSSM, and simply unfurled a site plan and an architectural drawing saying, “This is really what I would like to do but the problem is we don’t have any money.” And he said, “Sister, the Arch Dynasties is behind you 1000% and we are going to give you the property.” So, at any rate, we had that gift of 12 and a half acres. So — began sending out a few letters out to the public saying, “could you kind of help us here with the children?” And our focus was going to be to build one reunification duplex, to help try to break that cycle of generational abuse and neglect. So we wanted to build a duplex for family reunification and then a group home for boys and a group home for girls. So, at any rate, the money came rolling in, and God — this certainly has always been God’s project — God has always sent generous and courageous people. People who are compassionate, who just have huge hearts. So, at any rate, we were able to build a family reunification duplex for two families, obviously, and both of the group homes have been furnished and operational, debt free — which I am very proud to be able to say that. So that was really the beginning. And again, I always like to say that every single ministry that we have done in our 24 years, because we began 24 years ago, and it has always been simply because of the need of our society at that time. An unmet social services niche that was not being filled. So again I am very proud to say, that with in the context of our 24 years we’ve been able to do that. And you know as needs change, our ministry changes, our mission does not. We’re here to care for God’s kingdom.
I have a magnificent board of directors and we decided early on, back in 1998, that it might be smart for us to diversify. So at any rate I knew quite a bit about — I have my masters in Gerontology — so I know a little bit about elder care and how to build apartments and how to get funding for them, etc. through the Indiana Housing Finance Community Authority. So at any rate I said, “How about if we do a multigenerational campus.” So we had Providence House that was going strong and we decided to go ahead and do that. But I said again to the board, if we do launch into elder care, we need to offer a full contemplative care so that we can do aging in place because it’s not fair to bring people into an independent living situation, on a campus, where they learn the culture, the management, they like their neighborhood, etc. and then we have to ask them to leave if they need additional care. So at any rate the board said, “Sister do —” I love this — my board said, “Sister do whatever you’d like.” So at any rate, we decided to auction the property contiguous to the 12 and a half acres to Providence House. We decided we would start with apartments and then would go into assisted living facility and a typical long term nursing facility. So at any rate, we built the apartments, we opened the first phase in 2004, the second phase in 2005. And in the midst of all that building, we developed a corporate system to connect the two properties, so that at this point we now have 28 acres, which we call the Guerin campus. So at any rate, we did the independent living piece and then I said to the board it’s time to go ahead and start moving toward the assisted living and skilled nursing phase. So they said, “Fine sister.” And we actually were intending to build a typical long term care, skilled nursing facility and assisted living that everybody knows. Meaning it looks institutional, feels clinical, etc. And by happen stance, I had just learned about the small house model. So at any rate, I came back to the board and called an emergency meeting and said, “You know what guys, what we need to do is not a typical nursing home, but we need to launch this very unique facility.” And again, my desire has always been to find a social services need that is unmet. If someone else needs it, more adequately than what we do, than obviously we face out what we’re doing and begin something new. So at any rate, they said, “Fine.” So I did a market study and I did a financial feasibility study because a small house model is very unique and very different. It’s a model where only 10 elders live together, in their own facility of 7100 sq ft. So at any rate, did both studies and it proved to be feasible so then my challenge was to find the money for it. And again, God prevailed. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis and Indiana Housing Community Development Authority embraced it, as did many, many, many generous contributors and foundations within the area. So we were able to begin, the only small house model in 2008, May of 2008 we opened and we continue to be the only model in this area. And have been until about four years ago when someone in Indianapolis and Carmel decided to pick up on it.