History of Administration
Administrators Since Opening New St. Joseph’s Home in 1961:
- Sister Mary Delores, GNSH 1961-1966
- Sister Kathryn Healy, GNSH 1966-1970
- Sister Kathleen Sholette, GNSH 1970-1988
- Mr. William O’Reilly 1988-2001
- Mrs. Clare D. Snow 2001-2003
- Mr. Andrew E. Peterson 2003-2010
- Mrs. Colleen Steele 2010-Present
History of the Organization
St. Joseph’s Home has a history that is almost as old as the Diocese of Ogdensburg, which was established in 1872. The original portion of St. Joseph’s was built in 1808 as a home for Nathan Ford, a founder of the city of Ogdensburg. In 1863 the Grey Nuns from Ottawa took over the house, unused for some time, and operated a boarding school for young women, Our Lady of Victory Academy, until 1879. In 1885, Bishop Wadhams recalled the Grey Nuns requesting them to reopen the building as a hospital and so-called orphan asylum. Articles of incorporation were drawn up on Feb. 8, 1886 and a Board of Managers was named. The first members of the Board were Bishop Edgar Wadhams, William Averell, William Proctor, John Hannan, Christopher Louis, Richard Fitzgerald, John Tyo, Dennis Lynch, Alexander Amo, John O’Callaghan, and Alexander Valley. The object, as stated in the Articles of Incorporation, was to take care of the sick, the aged poor, and orphans. They named the institution The Ogdensburg City Hospital and Orphan Asylum. Thus began seventy-five years of dedicated service in the same building; service directed and adapted to the changing needs of the people of the North Country.
In 1902, it was recognized that the sick required a more specialized type of care. As a result, a separate hospital building was constructed across the street. A new entity came into being in 1915 when a separate Board of Directors was named, and a change was made in its corporate title. The new structure became known as A.Barton Hepburn Hospital. The old Ogdensburg City Hospital and Orphan Asylum was also the parent institution for St. John’s Hospital on Black Lake Road, opened in 1897 to care for victims of epidemics and later for the care of tuberculosis patients in St. Lawrence county. It was presided over by priest superintendent, Monsignor James J. Lacey. Throughout his time as priest superintendent, Monsignor Lacey successfully spearheaded a diocesan drive for funds which enabled the corporation to pay off a substantial debt, constructed a new power plant, and initiated much-needed renovations to the facility. Upon the death of Monsignor Lacey in 1942, Monsignor Joseph F. Luker became priest superintendent. Under his capable direction, the institution, which by then was known as St. Joseph’s Home, since the closing of St. John’s Hospital in 1955, continued its service for children and the well aging. In 1959, Monsignor Robert Lawler was named priest superintendent. Recognizing the changing trends in child welfare, he began phasing out the St. Joseph’s Home children’s program in 1960. Since its inception, St. Joseph’s had cared for 4,677 children.
Sensitive as always to the needs of the people in the area, the Board recognized the demand for skilled nursing care. Under the direction of Monsignor Robert Lawler, chaplain of St. Joseph’s and Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities, construction of the previous St. Joseph’s nursing home facility began in 1960. On Jan. 24, 1961, fifty men and women were transferred from what was "home" to them to the new facility erected on the site of the old Cathedral on Lafayette and Franklin Streets. Eight years later, a new addition provided space for dietary services, more resident beds and a larger chapel. In 1986 another large addition was constructed providing a new wing equipped with 18 patient beds, additional patient bathrooms, expanded nursing facilities and administrative offices. In 1996, the latest renovation was completed and included renewal of the main entrance and an expansion of the recreational area. This capital project was made possible through the hard work of St. Joseph’s Foundation and the generosity of the community.
In an effort to keep up with rapid advances in medicine and geriatric care, facilities like St. Joseph’s realized there was a need to change, not so much in the care module, but in terms of the physical environment and types of technology that are used in the skilled nursing setting.. Therefore, Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, the Board of Managers, residents and staff all agreed that a new building was extremely important as they prepared for the future. Because of this, in 2003, St. Joseph’s Home launched Continuing the Commitment, a capital fund campaign to raise at least $1.1 million in community support for a new home. The newest St. Joseph’s Home facility, opened in 2006, is a two-story 70,000 square feet home and is situated on a 7.6-acre landscaped parcel located at 950 Linden Street in the City of Ogdensburg. It is equipped with state of- the-art cost effective technology and systems and is home to 82 residents.
The recognition of spiritual values and the eternal destiny of the human being have always provided the "climate" for this Home and the people who come to live here. This is why the chapel, both in the original building and the present structure, is truly the core and wellspring of life at St. Joseph’s. The Home has always been fortunate in having the Liturgy celebrated on a regular basis in a true community setting. The priestly interest from the local parishes and the chancery, along with the devoted concern of the sisters and staff for each resident is evident and helps to create a unique atmosphere that is noted by many visitors.
The present St. Joseph’s, with its high level of professional care and the utilization of the newest skills and techniques in the rapidly expanding field of gerontology, is still conscious of its humble beginnings. Because of the dedication and tireless service of the priests, sisters and lay people who have given this venerable organization its rich heritage, St. Joseph’s Home looks forward to a second century of continued service to the people of Northern New York.