St. Rose's Home in Manhattan, a 35-bed facility operated by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne to provide free care to patients with incurable cancer, will close March 31, the sisters have announced.
Most or all of the patients will be transferred to the sisters' Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne. Mother Mary Francis Lepore, O.P., superior general, said in an interview that transfers have begun and that the eight or nine patients remaining will be relocated in March.
Patients and their families were offered the option of transferring to Rosary Hill, and all were interested, Mother Mary Francis said. If any wished to remain in Manhattan, efforts would be made to find a suitable placement, she added.
Patients, families and employees were informed of the decision in early December.
The work of the congregation was begun on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1896 by Rose Hawthorne, daughter of the American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. The congregation was officially founded in 1900, and the sisters have been serving at St. Rose's location, 71 Jackson Street, since 1912.
Rose Hawthorne, known as Mother Mary Alphonsa, purchased and opened Rosary Hill in 1901. The home now has 72 beds.
Thousands of patients have been served at St. Rose's, the sisters said. In accord with the congregation's mission, all care was provided free; only donations from the public were accepted.
The sisters said in a statement that "multiple factors guided by prayer" led to the decision to close St. Rose's. One reason was the sisters' concern about continuing their practice of providing personal bedside nursing care, which is an essential element of their charism. Mother Mary Francis noted that the congregation has always been small; it now has 59 sisters.
In addition, she said, it is impractical for the sisters to operate and staff two homes so close together, in Manhattan and Hawthorne.
With the closing of St. Rose, the sisters will have four homes. The others are in Philadelphia and Atlanta, and in Kisumu, Kenya. The eight sisters now serving at St. Rose's will be assigned to the other homes.
The jobs of lay employees will be terminated. The sisters will continue to own the building and property, however, and Mother Mary Francis said they plan to retain a couple of employees for security and maintenance. The sisters hope to rent the building.
In their statement, the sisters thanked Cardinal Egan for his pastoral support of the congregation, and the "priests, religious, benefactors and friends" who have assisted them. They also thanked their employees for their "loyalty and dedication" in providing high-quality care to patients.
Rose Hawthorne, who was a convert to Catholicism, died at Rosary Hill in 1926. Her canonization cause has been introduced and she has been given the title Servant of God.