CCVI sisters welcome support to renovate St. Austin’s Center

March 13, 2018

Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza, second from right, attends an unveiling event for the renovated St. Austin Community Center in East Houston with (left to right) Jeannette Baughman of CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare; Linda McClung, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of CHRISTUS Health; And Sister Mary Patricia Driscoll, CCVI ceneral councilor on Feb. 21. Photo courtesy of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

HOUSTON — On Feb. 21, the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (CCVI) and the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare unveiled plans for the soon-to-be renovated St. Austin Community Center in Houston’s East End.

The center is a collaborative initiative to house in one facility; the CHRISTUS St. Mary’s clinic’s expanded services, and the services presently provided by the sisters at St. Austin Center, 2002 S. Wayside Dr., Houston. These services will be enlarged upon in collaboration with others at the new St. Austin Community Center in response to the unmet needs of the neighbors in Houston’s East End and beyond.

Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza delivered a special blessing on the joint initiative and the new construction. He spoke of the sisters’ legacy of compassion, kindness and care in the East End community. He offered thanksgiving and blessings over coming the new facility, as well as the continued collective support of the sisters’ mission to care for those in need.

Presently the St. Austin Center provides English-as-a-second-language, citizenship classes and spirituality through prayer sessions, class socials and celebrations. St. Austin also provides office space for the director of the CCVI associates and the ministry of social concerns, which addresses protection of life, human trafficking, immigrants/refugees/vulnerable families and care of creation.

Through the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare, CHRISTUS St. Mary’s clinic currently provides vital healthcare services to the residents of the East End. Once completed, CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic will provide expanded medical services as well as social services based upon patient needs. The clinic also provides CHRISTUS Healthy Living Mobile Clinics and CHRISTUS School Based Clinics.

“At CHRISTUS we are driven and guided by the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word,” said Kara Hill, president of the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare. “The CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare is honored to partner with the Sisters to improve the health and well-being of the community.”

Sister Kevina Keating, congregational leader, thanked all who helped the CCVI congregation and the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare to realize this joint vision of caring for persons in need within the community. She acknowledged the sisters who were in attendance, echoing the Congregation’s founding call from Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands.”

Sister Keating said that through the center’s comprehensive services, including a high school dropout program, many will receive the care and support that they need.

The sisters, including Clinic Medical Director Sister Rosanne Popp, CCVI, welcomed a major contribution from Valero, receiving a $1 million check from Rob Moore and John Quigley of Valero. The donation benefits the capital campaign led by the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare, which will fund the construction of the new and expanded clinic at St. Austin Center.

“We are especially proud to be able to share in bringing life-helping, life-changing services to the community,” said Moore.

Sister Popp added the thanks of her many patients whom she described as being extremely grateful for life-saving procedures that helped them to overcome diabetes, cancer and other terminal diseases while maintaining an emphasis on preventive healthcare.

“Helping the Foundation helps us to help our patients to live a better life and to overcome diseases by having access to screenings, medical procedures and medications that can save their lives. And, we thank you,” she said.

The next phases of the St. Austin Community Center Renovation includes a groundbreaking ceremony at the beginning of construction and a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing at the planned fall 2019 opening of the new facility.