Rev. Jack Arlotta, the pastor of the Church of St. Stephen in Warwick, celebrated a mass of thanksgiving on Sat., Oct. 7 for the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in the Lourdes Grotto on the grounds of Mount Alverno Center. Rev. Arlotta described the occasion as “bittersweet.”
The Sisters, whose arrival in 1924, led to the establishment of St. Anthony Community Hospital, Mount Alverno Center and the Schervier Pavilion on what became the Warwick Campus of the Bon Secours Charity Health System, recently closed the doors to their St. Francis Convent on the grounds of Mount Alverno Center Adult Home in Warwick. Those Sisters, now few in number, who were still living in the convent, will move to the order’s St. Clare Convent in Cincinnati, OH.
The present site of Mt. Alverno was originally purchased in 1924 by the Franciscan Sisters to be used as a convent. A Chapel was then added to the main building and the entire property was incorporated under the name, “Mt. Alverno Retreat.” However, from the very beginning, they also actively engaged in service to the community including visiting the sick and bringing food and clothing to those in need. Subsequently, the Sisters purchased the former J. C. Babcock home on the corner of Maple Ave. and Grand St. and, in 1939, after working with area physicians, they opened St. Anthony Community Hospital. Ten years later, they added a novitiate.
In 1992, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor donated their retirement home and retreat for the development of the Schervier Pavilion skilled nursing facility and the Mount Alverno Assisted Living Center, meeting the community needs for Skilled Nursing Services and Assisted Living for its senior population. In 2000, the Sisters of Bon Secours Health System took over the direction of the Warwick Campus.