Oakwood Retirement Community was opened in 1971 adjacent to Sacred Heart Schools (SHS) in Atherton, California. At the time, there was just one main building. Since then, the following have been added:
- Westwood was added in 1981
- five additional apartments were built in the 1980s
- a special care wing was added in 1992
- the beautiful chapel was built in 1996
- Rosewood was built in 2003, adding resident rooms, a library; a large, bright art room; and a computer room
- the Gatehouse, a separate community on the SHS property, was begun in 1987 and rebuilt at its present location right next to Oakwood in 2011.
Currently, there are 41 RSCJ residents, making it the largest community in the province. It is a very welcoming community: the daily Liturgy is open to anyone who wishes to attend, and visitors, including school children, are welcome. However, the community may be closed at times due to health concerns, such as COVID-19.
The Sacred Heart Society, a group of high school seniors at SHS, meet individually with an RSCJ partner throughout the school year. The group averages about 35 students, but there have been as many as 62 coming weekly through the school year. Many return after they have graduated to visit "their sister."
A few of the RSCJ at Oakwood volunteer at the school and various other organizations in the wider community.
Oakwood hosts most of the Feast Day gatherings for the entire area. Many RSCJ in the Menlo area volunteer in some way at Oakwood.
After a decision by the province to close Kenwood in 2005, a committee facilitated the transition of RSCJ to another full care facility that provides housing for sisters who are independent and independent-plus, still living in the Albany, New York, area.
While some went to Teresian House, which is run by the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm, other RSCJ needed accommodation close enough to facilitate visiting and continue relationships with those at Teresian House.
Avila was a facility comprised of both apartments and cottages and, at the time, was at full capacity. However, there was a new plan to add a 40-apartment lodge. A representative of Avila contacted the administrator at Kenwood at the time and proposed the possibility of creating a suite where the RSCJ could have a community. The Society leadership worked diligently to make this proposal a reality. The new lodge was later completed in 2010.
Six RSCJ made up the first community at Avila in the Spring of 2010. Today, there are 13 RSCJ residing at Avila.
The community of RSCJ are delighted to be living with so many other residents and sharing the opportunities for friendship with those of varied backgrounds and religious beliefs. Each Sunday, the RSCJ celebrate the Eucharist with about 80 residents. There are three Catholic priests who live at Avila, as well. The entire Avila community is a wonderful model for sharing and honoring each person’s gifts and differences.
Caritas Residence is home to three RSCJ along with 46 Sisters of Charity and several lay women.
Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the RSCJ Caritas community was established in 2014 when a decision was made to enter an agreement with the Sisters of Charity and relocate from the RSCJ Barat Residence to Caritas, the home of the retired Sisters of Charity.
Overlooking the beautiful Bedford Basin, Caritas offers a wide array of amenities. Each community member enjoys a private room and shares a main floor dining room, a hair salon, library and outdoor terrace. Luscious gardens and pathways provide a serene and uplifting environment for those who make walking part of their daily routine.
Most important, the residence features a large chapel where Mass is celebrated six days a week. The RSCJ community plays a pivotal role in liturgical services, such as committee membership and participation.
The RSCJ residing at Caritas agree that the move has done much to enrich their lives, both as individuals and as a community.
Carmel Terrace in Framingham, Massachusetts, is the newest RSCJ senior living community. Five RSCJ formerly residing at Abba House in the Boston area, moved to this community in the summer of 2023. The sisters live independently and also enjoy a community gathering space for prayer and celebrations.
In 2004, RSCJ in the Albany, New York area established a community at Teresian House.
At one point, about 30 RSCJ resided at Tereisan House. Today, 10 RSCJ reside there. Although all are not on the same floor because of differing health needs, Teresian House gave the RSCJ a community room, in which they gather regularly and on special holidays.
When a new RSCJ arrives at Teresian, RSCJ residents have a tradition of gathering at the front door to welcome her and escort her to the chapel and to her new home. These women live among lay men and women in a 300-bed facility, embracing the meaning of “In ministry for life.”
The Sarah Community
Established in St. Louis, Missouri in 1997, The Sarah Community was founded by five congregations of women religious — the Daughters of Charity, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, Society of the Sacred Heart, School Sisters of Notre Dame and Sisters of Loretto. The Community boasts a senior living complex that provides a continuum of care — skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living — on a single campus and available to both religious sisters and lay people.
Several Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) have benefitted from the high quality, individualized care provided by The Sarah Community over the years. The focus on wellness of body, mind, and spirit in an environment characterized by respect, compassion, and a spirit of welcoming hospitality aligns well with the mission of the Society.
In 2022, the Provincial Team of the United States – Canada Province, in collaboration with the RSCJ affected by the decision, decided to form a small RSCJ community at The Sarah Community. This decision provided new possibilities and opportunities in eldercare living for RSCJ in the Province, especially for some who have ministered and lived in the St. Louis area for many years. Today seven RSCJ live in community at The Sarah Community.
The Sarah Community is named for Sarah of the Hebrew Scriptures, who as promised by God, bore a child in her old age. Sarah was a strong and capable woman with a lively sense of humor. She was known for her hospitality.