SLOATSBURG, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Retired Catholic nuns who dedicated their lives to helping others are now in need of some help themselves.
They may be forced to move out of their non-profit senior home in Rockland County if major improvements aren’t made.
At age 91, Sister Juliette Chicorli uses a walker and is nearly blind. The last thing she wants to do is move.
“It would be very painful,” she told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.
Sister Juliette is one of the retired nuns, priests, and other residents at St. Joseph’s Adult Care Home on a beautiful hilltop in Sloatsburg. It’s been run for 75 years by the Ukrainian ‘Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate.’
“They work very hard to take care of the poor and the children and everything,” Sister Chicorli said.
The problem is St. Joseph’s can’t offer full nursing home care for its aging residents without making major improvements, adding expensive medical services, and hiring nurses. It’s forced some seniors to go elsewhere.
The home was on the verge of bankruptcy just 7 years ago when the sisters had to sell off about 40 acres of property to stay afloat. Now, they’re trying to raise $7-million to expand and keep people like Sister Juliette at home.
Sister Michele Yakymovitch told CBS2’s Conybeare that they’ve started a Go Fund Me page that’s raised more than $300,000 so far. She fears if they don’t reach their goals, their doors could be forced to close.
“Very dire, and the status is poor. I’m hopeful, but maybe I’m a dreamer, that we will reach it,” she said.
During a visit to her mother, Olenka Castelli said she hopes the plan comes to fruition.
“It’s important that as, you know, people get older and ill they still need that comfort level, and I think this place could provide that given the proper funding,’ she said.
Wiping away tears, Sister Juliette has been praying for a miracle.
“Help the helpless, those that can’t help themselves,” she said.
St. Joseph’s is part of the Eastern Catholic Church and does not get funding from the Roman Catholic New York Archdiocese.