London: Cardinal opens Heritage Space at St Joseph's Hospice


Source: St Joseph's Hospice

Cardinal Vincent Nichols visited St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney, East London, on 17 January, to bless the newly-built Heritage Space, which commemorates those who have served, were cared for or have been a part of the hospice since its founding 113 years ago.

The mural charts the story of St Joseph's modest beginnings in 1905, when it was opened in Hackney by five Religious Sisters of Charity, thanks to a charitable donation. It also offers a welcoming space for visitors and patients to relax, chat or enjoy a snack in a comfortable, informal setting.

Eleven sections each record a decade in the life of the hospice. Achievements, such as new buildings or visits from VIPs - among them, Her Majesty The Queen and Princess Diana - are included. Also highlighted are pioneering palliative care experts who worked at St Joseph's, most notably Dame Cecily Saunders, founder of St Christopher's Hospice, London.

The twelfth panel records the future aims of the hospice, which include plans to use existing empty office and staff accommodation space to house projects supporting those marginalised in society in the spirit of Venerable Mary Aikenhead, foundress of the Religious Sisters of Charity who established the hospice in 1905.

The Cardinal, who became Patron of St Joseph's a year ago, was welcomed by Nigel Harding, CEO of the hospice and Fr Peter Scott, hospice chaplain. After celebrating Mass in the hospice chapel, the Cardinal Vincent blessed the Heritage Space. He met with Carolyne Barber & Sr Maria Coates RSc, the designers of this new project.

Chief Executive Nigel Harding commented: "We are delighted that our patron Cardinal Nichols officially opened this wonderful space, which showcases our journey that began over a hundred years ago, through the war years, to the modern and inclusive hospice it is today. It serves as a constant reminder of our core values - Quality, Justice, Compassion, Advocacy and Respect - which inform every aspect of our expert care.:

During his visit, Cardinal Vincent met some of the sisters, trustees, senior management team, mission staff, and chaplains. Accompanied by Director of Care Ruth Bradley, Senior Nurse Debbie Pegram and Fr Peter, he also visited three of the wards, where he met and spoke with some of the patients.

Opened on 15th January 1905, St Joseph's Hospice was founded by the Congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity. The Congregation was founded by Venerable Mary Aikenhead in Ireland in 1815 to serve the poor initially by visiting the sick poor in their homes.

From the very beginning, the hospice welcomed patients of all faiths and none. In the first two years, 212 patients had been welcomed and, in 1907, the hospice had 12 beds. Today, St Joseph's has 49 beds and serves the three boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. Every year it cares for over 4,000 people in the diverse communities of East London, as well as supporting their families and carers.

Fundraising remains vital to St Joseph's, with the Hospice needing to secure £16m every year in order to keep providing expert care to the community. It relies on the support of local people, many of whom fundraise as a positive way to celebrate their loved ones.

For more information, see: www.stjh.org.uk/welcome

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