The sisters take big steps into their new residence
March 1, 2018, the Sisters of St. Martha have officially moved out of the Bethany House, which has been home to many sisters since being built in 1921. Their new home which has been developed over the last year is situated adjacent to the Bethany House. As soon as everything is removed, the building, which has many structural problems, will be demolished. The move was sparked by a number of safety concerns associated with the Bethany building including a lack of emergency sprinklers. The building was also found to be too old and too big for the aging residents.
The new facility, Parkland Antigonish, is sponsored and run by Shannex, a family-owned organization that offers many services including home care, retirement living, assisted living, memory care and nursing care. The new building includes 25 nursing home beds, and modern amenities. In the next 10 to 20 years, when beds are no longer needed by the sisters, the facility will open up rooms for community use and revert to become a public nursing home.
The move was contested at first, as many of the sisters have lived in the old Bethany building for decades. However, continued safety concerns have pushed residents to make the move into the Shannex building next door.
Shannex CEO Joe Shannon told the Casket “We’re thrilled to be able to bring this forward for all the Sisters as well as the community of Antigonish…and we are honoured to be apart of the next journey with the Sisters of St. Martha.”
The Sisters of St. Martha are a beloved and active part of our Antigonish community. Since their formal establishment as a religious congregation in 1900, they have continued to contribute to community work and causes including the Antigonish movement during the 1940s. Dr. Moses Coady was a strong admirer of the sisters, and once declared that fifty of Saint Martha's sisters could change the world.
Today, the sisters continue to celebrate and promote activism in the community such as Pink Shirt day against bullying, African Heritage Month, the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society, just to name a few. As well as events happening on the StFX campus through their Facebook and Twitter pages.
The new Parkland Antigonish location will have it's grand opening celebration on Monday, March 19, 2018 between 2:00pm and 4:00 pm to invite members of the community to come join them in their new journey.