“This is home now,” 83-year-old Sister Grace Henke told an Associated Press reporter about her seemingly unlikely new home – Jewish Home in the Bronx. Henke is one of 58 retired Sisters from three Catholic orders who have moved into Jewish Home facilities. Henke and the other Sisters confessed to some initial hesitation, but now say they’ve found Jewish Home to be welcoming, warm and suited to their needs.
The story of the Catholic Sisters who now call Jewish Home in the Bronx their home is making its way around the world because of an Associated Press story that first ran over Memorial Day weekend.
The story has already been picked up by more than 100 worldwide new outlets, including The International New York Times, Slate, Haaretz.com, Catholic News, The Times of Israel, and The Washington Post.
With fewer women entering religious life, it is no longer feasible for many orders to care for the aging Sisters. The Sisters of Charity, Franciscan Handmaids of Mary, and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have all turned to Jewish Home for their retirees, because of the breadth of services Jewish Home can offer.
The Sisters are now part of a new chapter in Jewish Home’s longstanding commitment to caring for the community.
This collaboration is a fine example of how Jewish Home is working with diverse partners to solve difficult issues around aging.
In its June 3 issue, The Jewish Week also featured the Sisters now living at Jewish Home’s Kittay House and the University Avenue Assisted Living facility, with a focus on how they have integrated into the community.
Sister Loretta Theresa Richards shared that being at Jewish Home “helps me get in touch with my roots. I’ve come to realize that the more I interact with my Jewish brothers and sisters, especially on the faith level, the more I understand my own religion, because Jesus, after all, was Jewish.”