St. Raphael’s celebrate 60 years

St. Raphael’s in Celbridge celebrated its 60th anniversary on June 20, 2012.

St. Raphael’s in Celbridge celebrated its 60th anniversary on June 20, 2012.

Brothers, services users, staff, volunteers, retirees, family members and friends gathered in the church for Mass to reflect and reminisce on the development of the services in north Kildare over the last 60 years.

Services commenced at St. Raphael’s in 1952. Some of the men who started school in those early years reminded us that they lived in ninety bed dormitories and that the boys had access to one television, which on a good day would allow them to view BBC. This was contrasted with today’s focus of providing each resident with their own bedroom and personal space in small home like settings, Clare Dempsey Director St. John of God Kildare Services.

The Mass celebrated and gave thanks for the development of school, residential and day services at St. Raphael’s in the intervening years and highlighted the importance of the development of services in the towns of Celbridge, Maynooth and Clane over the last fifteen

years.

Ms. Dempsey acknowledged the vision, leadership, commitment and dedication of Brothers, staff and families to bring these developments about. She also took the opportunity to look to the future and set a vision for Kildare Services, where people with an intellectual disability will live in houses and apartments in the towns and villages of north Kildare and experience active citizenship and community participation across all stages of their life.

Brother Donatus Forkan, Prior General, Hospitaller Order of St. John of God sent a letter of congratulations from Rome, to all at Kildare Services on this very special occasion.

In his letter, Brother Donatus said: “My dear brothers and sisters in Hospitality, in the name of Saint John of God I thank each one of you for the work that you do in his name and with his spirit. May you have a wonderful and enjoyable celebration, there is so much to celebrate and offer thanks for.

“I am united with you in particular in the prayer of thanksgiving for all that has been accomplished at Saint Raphael’s’ over the 60 year period and for all those, both living and dead, who made it happen. Taking inspiration from the past, which was not always easy, may you be inspired and encouraged to face present and future challenges with confidence and hope.”

Br Gregory McCrory, who had previously served as Director for nine years at Kildare Services, spoke on behalf of Br Laurence Kearns, Provincial, and acknowledged the unique spirit evident at Kildare Services. He praised staff for their care and support of service users and for their commitment to advocate and do what is best for people, especially through these difficult economic times.

- Henry Bauress.