By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — A public celebration has been held; the chapel has been blessed, and now approximately 120 residents have moved into the new Kahl Home on the city’s northeast side. Assisting with the move were Carmelite nuns whose foundress, Mother M. Angeline Teresa McCrory, O.Carm., accepted an invitation 58 years ago from the Davenport Diocese’s Bishop Ralph Hayes to open the Kahl Home. The Carmelites provided nursing care in a mansion that members of the Kahl family had donated to the diocese.
Expansions and improvements were made over the years at the Kahl Home in central Davenport, but a desire to enhance person-centered care led to construction of a new, 138,000-square-foot facility with room to grow at 6701 Jersey Ridge Road in Davenport.
“Thank God for the Carmelite Sisters and God bless them and their wonderful new facility,” Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house earlier this month. He praised the Carmelite nuns for being a beacon of Catholic health care to the aged and infirm and to all whose lives they touch. “Clearly, the Carmelite Sisters are fulfilling their vision and mission.”
Mother M. Mark Louis Ann Randall, O. Carm., superior general of the Germantown, N.Y.-based Carmelites, said she was “blown away” when she saw the new facility in person. But as beautiful as the building is, what matters most is that it serves as “a house of love,” she said at the close of a Mass of dedication Aug. 15.
Mother Randall noted that Mother McCrory, who viewed residents as guests, has been named venerable by Pope Benedict XVI. “She
always wanted the best for our guests and she has her wish. This is a new chapter in the Kahl Home history.”
During the dedication Mass, held on the Feast of the Assumption, Bishop Martin Amos noted that the chapel is dedicated to Mary under the title “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.” He recalled the biblical history of the Ark of the Covenant and its relation to Mary who “housed the miraculous bread from heaven — the eternal high priest, the Word of God incarnate. She is the theotokos — the God bearer.”
The bishop noted the centrality of the new Kahl Home’s chapel, a place associated with the presence of God and placed under Mary’s protection. “May residents, staff and the Sisters be ‘Arks of the Covenant’ to each other, revealing the very presence of God. May God bless and protect all who enter this Kahl Home.”
Bishop Amos anointed the altar with sacred chrism holy oil. Following incensation of the altar and chapel, two Carmelites wiped the altar with thick white towels and then covered it with altar cloths and placed candles on it. Flowers were set in front of the altar.
The new facility on Jersey Ridge Road replaces the 99,000-square-foot facility (now for sale) on West Ninth Street, including the Kahl mansion, said Kahl Home Administrator Rosalie Thomas.
The Jersey Ridge Road site, which is licensed for 135 residents, has 105 single rooms and 30 semi-private rooms (two rooms that share a bathroom). Each floor has two “neighborhood” units and each neighborhood has its own dining room. Previously, the Kahl Home had a main dining room and three smaller dining rooms in the nursing units compared with six dining rooms at the new site.
Other amenities are a larger therapy suite, gift shop, café and pub, a two-story multipurpose area with a fireplace, a larger life enrichment center, custom-designed stained glass windows in the chapel, and living room/kitchenette gathering space in addition to an activities area for each of the six neighborhoods (no longer an institutional nursing station). Also, new dining rooms with open seating; courtyard with water feature accessible via the café; multipurpose areas; secured courtyard off the first- floor dining room and first-floor living room spaces, and more natural light.
“There’s not a place where there isn’t a window, where there isn’t light, including the hallways. There’s a sense of openness and light,” said Msgr. Drake Shafer, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Long Grove who has worked with the Sisters for more than 40 years. He and some other priests of the Davenport Diocese concelebrated the dedication Mass.
Guests who attended the dedication Mass and blessing of the new Kahl Home were equally impressed, incluing Sister Bea Snyder, CHM, whose 96-year-old mother, Ruth, is among the new residents. “I’m just really looking forward to this new adventure in her life as she adjusts and becomes comfortable at the place we ‘Kahl’ home!,” Sr. Snyder said.
Residents will be able to enjoy visiting a pub in the common area, with a happy hour Monday through Saturday from 4-5 p.m. Denise Reed, the Kahl Home’s resident support services director, said she’s planning an activity for the fall in which residents get to brew their own beer, and name it.
A new convent has also been created for the four Carmelite Sisters whose mission is at the Kahl Home, Thomas said.
Russell Construction Healthcare Division, based in Davenport, was the contractor for the new facility. “It has been a treat to work for the Kahl Home and with Rosalie and the Sisters,” said Jerry Nieman, senior vice president of Russell Construction Healthcare Division. He noted that hundreds of people in various trades worked on the new facility and took pride in the finished product.
Total cost for the 138,000-square foot, multi-story nursing home is $39 million, with $5 million to be generated from a capital campaign. As of late July, more than $3.2 million has been pledged toward the goal, Thomas said. Solicitation will now be broadened to a wider range of potential donors, and support from local Catholic parishes begins later this fall.