St. Anne’s Guest Home has been a special part of my life for years.
I remember as a young boy volunteering to shine shoes for the men’s residence up on the third floor at the old facility in Riverside Park. I also vividly recall that in the 8th grade a friend of mine and I were hired to help out in the kitchen with dish-washing and to help with maintenance. How time flies and the memories continue to be implanted and cherished.
After college I worked at First National Bank (now Alerus) in Marketing. I was involved in the community and in my parish at Holy Family. My good friend Mary Bohlman, God bless her soul, came to me one day at the bank and said, “Tim, we could really use you to serve on the Board of St. Anne’s Guest Home. The fire Marshall has recently ruled that the place as unsafe and that the Sisters will either need to rebuild or close.”
My fondness for St. Anne’s sparked me to say, “Sure; I will do what I can.” It wasn’t long after that I was working in the Grand Forks community to explore resources and to begin to solicit support and funding for St. Anne’s. We also sought the help of the Catholic parishes in Grand Forks and through the grace of God we were able to obtain the not-so-old St. James Convent that had housed the Sisters of St. Joseph who served the parishes and St. Michael’s Hospital. The convent was used by the parishes for religious education purposes, but they decided that if St. Anne’s could use the facility and gain the funding needed to remodel, they would support the effort to continue Catholic healthcare in Grand Forks.
Once the convent was obtained, we worked with several local, state and federal resources to obtain Section Eight grant funding through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This funding would provide for the stand-alone subsidized affordable housing apartment units that would be built onsite. I remember flying with Sr. Rebecca Metzger, who was, and still is, the Administrator of St. Anne’s. We flew to Denver, CO to sign the legal agreements. It was Sr. Rebecca’s first airplane flight and, needless to say, it was a very interesting one for her; she got sick on the plane once up in the air. However, she was bound and determined to make it to Denver, and the papers were signed. We returned to Grand Forks by plane.
After many planning meetings with building contractors, architects, parishioners, pastors and the Sisters of St. Francis of Hankinson the dream of a new St. Anne’s became a reality and was dedicated in 1981.
I am proud and grateful that my name is on the cornerstone of St. Anne’s with many others who made St. Anne’s Guest Home a reality in its present location. The dedication was a day of great joy when the facility was blessed by Bishop Justin Driscoll. The Bishop and I became friends, and he was instrumental in my answering the call to priesthood. The Sisters at St. Anne’s have been and are a very special part of my life and the life of my family.
My dad, and now my brother, have been selling and delivering paper and other supplies to St. Anne’s for over 50 years. The Sisters hosted a reception at St. Anne’s for me when I was ordained a transitional deacon. My grandmother lived at St. Anne’s before she died and my mother was an auxiliary member for years.
Years have passed and the healing ministry of Jesus continues. Through God’s grace and work, the Catholic community of Grand Forks continues to support the wonderful ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis and the ministry of many dedicated lay people who make St. Anne’s a very sacred place.
Today, the purpose of St. Anne’s, a Catholic Health care facility, is to create an environment of living and sharing the Gospel Message for the healing of the spiritual and physical, as well as the psychological, social and emotional needs of the people they serve, in accordance with the moral and religious directives for Catholic Health Care.
St. Anne’s continues to build and celebrate the Reign of God. A special thanks to the Sisters of St. Francis and the many lay women and men who give of themselves in service to others at St. Anne’s Guest Home. May all of us use our gifts together to care for others as Jesus calls us all to do.