Mission of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm
Our mission began over 80 years ago when Mother M. Angeline Teresa founded a new congregation - The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged & Infirm in 1929. Under Mother Angeline's direction, the Charism of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged & Infirm was conceived and nurtured:
These dedicated women commit their lives to the fulfillment of their Mission:
"We, the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, as women of the church inspired by Mother M. Angeline Teresa, respond with faith, courage and love to the healing ministry of Christ. Our philosophy is steeped in her words:
'Our apostolate is not only to staff and operate up-to-date homes for the aged, but as religious it is to bring Christ to every old person under our care. Bringing Christ means giving them His compassion, His interest, His loving care, His warmth morning, noon and night. It means inspiring the lay people who work with us, to give the same type of loving care.'
"Our mission is reflected in the philosophy of care inherent in all policies and practices promulgated within the health care facilities under our supervision, thereby charging the administration, boards of directors and medical staff with promoting the Christian mission of healing and care."
In the early 1900‘s, a rolling hillside in rural Hollidaysburg was the site of John Kazmaier’s new country Villa. Little did this prominent Altoona businessman, who was primarily a beer distributor, know that 60 years later the site would become a haven for elderly persons in a care facility known as GARVEY MANOR.
Early in 1960, Bishop John Carroll McCormick perceived the need for a Catholic nursing home to serve the care needs of the elderly in the Diocese of Altoona. He invited the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm to serve in ministry in the new facility named for the Diocese’s first Bishop, Eugene Garvey. He expressed his vision at the dedication of Garvey Manor on June 24, 1965: “Old age is not a calamity. The value of every human person, whether young or old, healthy or sick, is a basic claim in Christian teaching. Since each day of life comes from God, old age must be a sign of God’s blessing”. These sentiments complemented the vision of Mother Angeline Teresa, the Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, whose charism for care of the elderly is summed up in her words: “to clasp the hand of an aged person and give meaning to the autumn of life.”
Kazemair’s circa 1906 Villa still stands on the property’s 9 acres as a proud link to the past. The original nursing home, adjacent to it, was built in a medical model popular in the 1960’s with the advent of Medicare. Even though residents had very limited privacy in the small shared room, the sisters and staff established the warmth of a home and provided care and services that lived up to the tenets upon which the Manor was founded. Dignity, hospitality, quality care and quality of life are hallmark values that influenced Garvey Manor’s past, and set the direction for its future.
When it became evident that the Manor needed to upgrade its building, expand services, offer more residential amenities with privacy and provide alternate levels of care in order to respond to changing expectations of its’ residents and applicants, the Board of Directors wisely took a positive step to move Garvey Manor into the future.
The newly constructed complex, completed in 2003, totally replaced the original nursing home. A spacious, attractive, dignified, residential senior care complex now exists that includes the skilled nursing facility, GARVEY MANOR NURSING HOME, and a personal care home and residential living apartments in OUR LADY of the ALLEGHENIES RESIDENCE.
Whether it is providing a short term stay for rehabilitation, long term nursing care, a special program milieu in the Marian Center for Dementia Care, supportive services in the personal care home or fostering independence in the residential apartments, Garvey Manor is positioned to meet present and future needs of elders who have come to trust the quality of services provided by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown who sponsor the facility. The compassionate, dedicated staff at Garvey Manor continue the legacy everyday as they strive to fulfill the Mission - To promote and provide personal and professional quality of care and service in an atmosphere which reflects Christ’s compassion, love and concern for the elderly.
"Never in our lives have we witnessed such acts of love, not only to our mother but to all the residents at Garvey Manor and their families. My mother's time there helped her to enjoy her last years in a gentle, dignified environment. Spending her last years within a house of God gave her great peace and comfort. She felt she was 'home' again. She felt God's presence around her because of the love she received in your care."
- Kathleen Chovit