November 16, 2018

St. Paul Hermitage: ‘A place where they can grow socially and spiritually’

In this photo from Nov. 27, 2013, retired Father Herman Lutz, gazes out of the main parlor window of St. Paul Hermitage in Beech Grove, the retirement home where he and three other retired archdiocesan priests reside. (Photo courtesy of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development)

In this photo from Nov. 27, 2013, retired Father Herman Lutz, gazes out of the main parlor window of St. Paul Hermitage in Beech Grove, the retirement home where he and three other retired archdiocesan priests reside. (Photo courtesy of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development)

By Natalie Hoefer

BEECH GROVE—In the 1950s, then-Archbishop Paul C. Schulte invited the Sisters of St. Benedict of the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., to establish a retirement home in Beech Grove for lay Catholics.

As providence would have it, the sisters had been considering creating a new community due to their growth in numbers. The archbishop’s invitation sealed the deal.

St. Paul Hermitage, operated by the Benedictine Sisters of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, was built in 1959. Its name is a subtle nod in honor of Archbishop Schulte. His patron saint was St. Paul the Hermit.

The retirement community offers independent apartments for couples and individuals, private residential rooms for assisted living, and 52 beds for skilled nursing care in their health care center wing.

The facility accepts seniors on Medicare and Medicaid. But as Benedictine Sister Heather Jean Foltz, St. Paul Hermitage’s administrator, notes, “Usually what Medicaid pays is never enough, so the [Benedictine] sisters pay the rest as a mission to the poor.”

Music therapy is offered to residents in the health care center with memory issues. Physical, occupational and speech therapy are also available to all residents. However, Sister Heather Jean notes, they are not offered as a short‑term or rehab-to-home service.

“We want to build a community environment,” she says. “When people are moving in and out, you don’t get to know them. We want to know our residents’ gifts, the areas where they need special care, the little differences in the things they want, like coffee in their room before they go down for breakfast. We want them to know they are known and loved.”

Another way residents are treated special at St. Paul Hermitage is through holistic care, says Sister Heather Jean.

“You get physical, social and spiritual needs met here,” she explains. “Spirituality is part of everyday life here. We have Mass and Communion every day. We have a pastoral care coordinator, Bible studies, a book club, a lectio [divina] group,” plus an outdoor Stations of the Cross path surrounded by trees and green space on the sisters’ 30-plus-acre campus.

“We accept those of different faiths and see that their spiritual needs are met, too,” she adds. “We have a Protestant service once a month. But the majority [of residents] are Catholic, keeping that identity with the archdiocese” that Archbishop Schulte called for six decades ago.

In coordination with the archdiocese, St. Paul Hermitage has always offered a discounted rate to retired priests of the archdiocese. Four priests currently reside at the facility, several of whom are still active, celebrating Mass and offering the sacraments at the home.

When it comes down to it, says Sister Heather Jean, “the people who thrive here are the people who are looking for a place where they can grow socially and spiritually.”

Those people will also thrive for one other important reason: Out of 125 nursing homes in Indianapolis and Carmel rated by U.S. News & World Report in 2018, St. Paul Hermitage is one of only seven to receive a Top Overall rating.
 

(St. Paul Hermitage is located at 501 N. 17th Ave., in Beech Grove. For more information, go to www.stpaulhermitage.org or call 317-786-2261.)

 

Related story: Four residences in Archdiocese of Indianapolis base their care of seniors on Catholic values

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