Prayer shawls donated to free hospice center

On Monday, Feb. 3, 2013, we donated 7 prayer shawls to Our Lady of Peace Home, Health and Hospice in St. Paul.

Volunteer coordinator Kim Perez gave us a tour when we arrived, and told us about the history and operation of Our Lady of Peace. "We are a very small hospice center," she said. "This is perfect."

We donated only prayer shawls to Our Lady. They didn't need lapghans because their patients are at end of life, and already have blankets and hats.

Their motto is: Care for the body. Comfort for the soul.

The rooms inside look upon an outdoor courtyard.
Our Lady of Peace has 21 rooms. Each has a flat screen TV, clock and radio. The rooms have two beds, separated by partitions. Handmade quilts add a splash of color to each bed. Patients range from 18 to the elderly. Our Lady is currently working with Children's Hospital to offer hospice services for children, as well.

The Dominican sisters who founded the organization were very forward thinking, and made sure that each room in the facility has a view of the outdoors. In the chapel, natural light streams through windows and skylights. They also made sure to provide large storage areas.

In the main floor lounge, the is an aquarium. The second floor lounge has an aviary stocked with exotic birds. "It's a nice diversion," said Perez.

The average patient stays at Our Lady for nine days. Perez has seen the average stay drop during her time there. People typically come to Our Lady when they have exhausted their medical coverage and are in crisis. "We're not governed by Medicare because we're free," Perez explained.

The majority staff at Our Lady has been there a long time, including Perez, who began working there 25 years ago as a housekeeper.

Our Lady began in 1941. Back in those days, those with cancer were sent to an island to die alone, according to Kim. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop saw the discrepancy between those with money and the poor in their treatment. She began caring for the poor and sick, and from that, an order was born.

At one time, there were 8 homes in the United States, but that was pared to only one in 2009 because there weren't enough sisters to manage the homes and the Franciscan Health Community took over the operation. However, the Dominican sisters did form a partnership with 4 sisters from India, who still help provide the care in St. Paul. Fifty volunteers lend a hand to help things run smoothly.

In addition to the hospice facility, Our Lady also provides home health services to the nearby community.  The Highland Block Nursing Program is housed at Our Lady, and it has provided good partnership opportunities for each organization.

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Our Lady of Peace is located at 2076 St. Anthony Ave. in St. Paul. Call 651-789-5025 or browse for more information.


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