St. Joseph’s Villa turns 50

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
St. Joseph’s Villa turns 50
Pictured in back are Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement, St. Joseph's Villa Executive Director Gizanne Lafrance-Allaire and St. Joseph's Villa Auxiliary President Anne Vincelli with St. Joseph's Villa resident Denis Proulx at the celebration of the home's 50th anniversary on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Residents and community members celebrated the storied history of one of Cornwall’s oldest seniors homes, St. Joseph’s Villa.

At a gathering on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 residents, staff, and community members came together to celebrate a history that extends further back than 50 years.

The doors of St. Joseph’s Villa, opened in 1960, but the foundation for the first care home for the elderly was laid down on that same spot in 1879 by the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.

It first began as the Hotel Dieu Hospital before becoming the St. Paul’s Home for the elderly nearly 20 years later.

In the modern building, which was built in 2007, there are still relics from the Sisters of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph. In the chapel, the walls are adorned with the wood of their original church that was on the site, and the original altar also remains.

Anne Vincelli, President of the St. Joseph’s Villa Auxiliaries explained some of the home’s proud history.

“Throughout the years, dedicated physicians and staff doled out compassionate medical care,” she said. “Benefactors from far and wide helped to make this history. Volunteers continue to assist in creating a home atmosphere for the residents. Since their earliest beginnings in Cornwall, the Sisters have met many challenges, and continue to plan for the future. Their mission continues to guide us in a spirit of faith, concern, and dedication to the community we serve.”

Gizanne Lafrance-Allaire, the Executive Director at the Villa said that the institution continues to innovate through their new Butterfly dementia program.

“It is about recognizing the needs of residents with dementia and meeting them where they are,” she explained. “It is about living according to their schedules.”

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