Oakwood Retirement Community was opened in 1971 adjacent to the Schools of the Sacred Heart, Atherton 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 47 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 Schools of the Sacred Heart, 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 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 chief finance officer at Kenwood along with the chief finance officer of the United States – Canada Province and Sister Marie Buonato were asked to work with the architect and builders of the new Lodge, which was later completed in 2010.
Sisters Betty Shearman, Arcadia Cotto, Jean Bautz, Mary Jane Sullivan, Elly Carr and Dorothy Murray made up the first community at Avila in the Spring of 2010. Today, there are 10 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.
Originally founded by Libby Hoye, RSCJ, and Mary Gen Smyth, RSCJ, Abba House of Prayer was turned over to the Diocese of Albany and directed by the Sisters of Mercy for a time. Then in 2008, Abba House of Prayer, was an ideal community for RSCJ leaving Kenwood.
After renovations that made the house more accessible, RSCJ moved into Abba House in Albany, New York, in early November of 2008 and had their first Thanksgiving together.
Created as an “Independent Plus” community, the plan was that all but two of the RSCJ who lived at Abba House were in need of some light assistance in order to be eligible to live there. Throughout the past 12 years, it has been home for some 27 RSCJ, most of whom moved on to Teresian House when their need for care became more acute.
Abba House has remained the “house of prayer,” of hospitality and of community that it was from its beginning. Currently, six RSCJ reside at Abba House.
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 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.
In 2004, after the decision was made to close the former noviceship at Kenwood, a small group began looking for a nursing home in Albany, New York, for elderly and infirm RSCJ. As beds became available at Teresian House, Sister Pauline, O Carm, CEO of Teresian House, agreed to take all RSCJ in need of residence, even those who only needed assisted living, so that the community could stay together in one place.
At one point, about 30 RSCJ resided at Tereisan House. Today, six 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, those already there gather 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.”