Image: Jonathan Frels, Vice Chair, CHRISTUS Foundation Board of Directors; Les Cave, CHRISTUS Health Gulf Coast Region CEO; Sr. Kevina Keating, Congregational Leader, John Quigley, Operations Director, Valero Houston Refinery; Sr. Roseanne Popp, M.D., Medical Director, CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic; Kara Hill, President, CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare; Rob Moore, Refinery VP and General Manager, Valero Houston Refinery and Linda McClung, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, CHRISTUS Health

Serving the total needs of Greater East End Houston

On February 21, 2018, the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston and the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare unveiled plans for the soon-to-be renovated St. Austin Community Center. The Center is a collaborative initiative to house in one facility, the CHRISTUS St. Mary’s clinic’s expanded services, and the services presently provided by the Sisters at St. Austin Center. These services will be enlarged upon in collaboration with others at the new St. Austin Community Center in response to the unmet needs of the neighbors in Houston’s East End and beyond.

Presently St. Austin Center provides English-as-asecond-language, citizenship classes, and spirituality through prayer sessions, class socials and celebrations. St. Austin also provides office space for the Director of the CCVI Associates and the ministry of social concerns, which addresses protection of life, human trafficking, immigrants/refugees/vulnerable families and care of creation.

Through the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare, CHRISTUS St. Mary’s clinic currently provides vital healthcare services to the residents of the East End. Once completed, CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic will provide expanded medical services as well as social services based upon their patients’ needs. The clinic also provides CHRISTUS Healthy Living Mobile Clinics and CHRISTUS School Based Clinics.

The unveiling ceremony began with an introduction by Kara Hill, President of the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare. “At CHRISTUS we are driven and guided by the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare is honored to partner with the Sisters to improve the health and well-being of the community,” she said. 

Most Reverend Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza imparted a special blessing on the joint initiative. He called to mind the Sisters’ legacy of compassion, kindness and care in the East End community. And, he offered thanksgiving and blessings over the new facility that is to come; as well as the continued collective support of the Sisters’ mission to care for those in need. Sister Kevina Keating, Congregational Leader, provided congratulatory remarks to all who participated in helping the CCVI Congregation and the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare to realize this joint vision of caring for persons in need within the community. She acknowledged the Sisters who were in attendance and she reminded everyone of the Congregation’s founding call from Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis: “Our Lord JesusChrist,  suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands.” Sr. Kevina pointed out that through the Center’s comprehensive services, including a high school dropout program, many will receive the care and support that they need. Remarks were also made by Rob Moore, Valero Vice President and Houston Refinery Manager, and John Quigley, Operations Director of the Valero Houston Refinery.

On behalf of Valero, they presented a check for $1 million to the capital campaign led by the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare, which will fund the construction of the new and expanded clinic at St. Austin Center. Mr. Moore said, “We are especially proud to be able to share in bringing life-helping, life-changing services to the community.”

CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic Medical Director and CCVI, Sr. Rosanne Popp thanked the Valero executives and the other sponsors, donors and benefactors for their generosity in making financial contributions to realizing the vision of the Center. She also added thanks from her many patients whom she described as being extremely grateful for life-saving procedures that helped them to overcome diabetes, cancer and other terminal diseases while maintaining an emphasis on preventive healthcare. 

“Helping the Foundation helps us to help our patients to live a better life and to overcome diseases by having access to screenings, medical procedures and medications that can save their lives. And, we thank you,” she said. The unveiling culminated with a reception held in the St. Austin Center’s garage that was transformed into an elegant dining area with food, soft music and refreshments for all in attendance to enjoy. The next phases of the St. Austin Community Center Renovation will include a groundbreaking ceremony at the beginning of construction and a ribbon-cutting ceremony / blessing when the new facility is opened in the Fall of 2019.

Praised be the Incarnate Word. Forever.

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