2017 marks the 40th anniversary of hospice care at Milford Care Centre in Limerick, pioneered by the Little Company of Mary (LCM) Order, which celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, and both milestones are recorded in a newly published book.
“The book, entitled ‘A Journey of Hope’, written by Sister Brigid Finucane, LCM, one of the three pioneering Sisters who worked in the original hospice in Milford, chronicles the history of the Order, including Mary Potter’s radical social and caring work in difficult economic circumstances in 19th century Victorian Britain. It also records the Order’s arrival in Ireland to St John’s Hospital, Limerick in 1888.
“Its publication was partly prompted by the many enquiries received from the public over the years about the history and heritage of Milford House,” author Sister Brigid explained.
Founded by the Venerable Mary Potter in a disused stocking factory in Hyson Green, Nottingham, England in 1877, the LCM Order first provided hospice care for people with life-limiting conditions in the Mid-West Region in 1977.
The book records how, in 1923, the Sisters purchased the Georgian Milford House at Castletroy near Limerick and established a Novitiate there. Space was allocated in the building for nursing home beds five years later.
Responding to the changing care needs of the wider community, LCM Sisters set aside nine beds at Milford House specifically for hospice care in 1977 in what was a highly progressive move in Irish healthcare at the time.
As the book explains, Milford Hospice has undertaken a number of expansions since then, with the provision of a range of inpatient and day care services at standalone premises at Milford. Extensive Hospice-at-Home and other community palliative care services throughout the Mid-West were also added by Milford Care Centre (MCC) as well as expanded nursing home facilities in Milford.
“A Journey of Hope” also highlights how, coinciding with Milford Hospice’s 40th anniversary, a major development project is now at an advanced stage, involving the provision of a new purpose-built 34-bed hospice to serve Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary and the expansion of the existing Nursing Home from 47 beds to a 68-bed nursing home.
Both of these facilities, on completion, will feature enhanced facilities for patients, relatives and staff, including all single occupancy rooms for both patients and residents. This Project remains on target to start accommodating palliative care patients and their families in early 2018, while it is expected that remedial works to the Nursing Home will be completed in the last quarter of 2018.
The publication also sets out to acknowledge the selfless contribution made by the many LCM Sisters and Milford Care Centre personnel, led by chief executive Pat Quinlan, down through the decades. It is also a tribute to the patients and residents of Milford and their families, and the many volunteers, fundraisers, benefactors, and associates.
Special guest speaker at the launch was RTE Religious and Social Affairs Correspondent, Joe Little and other speakers were Pat Gilmartin, Chairperson of MCC Board of Directors, Sister Brigid Finucane, author of the book and Pat Quinlan, Chief Executive, Milford Care Centre.
“A Journey of Hope' will be available at Milford Care Centre and in the Hospice Shop in Thomas Street, Limerick. All proceeds generated will form part of the fundraising income to support the work of Milford Hospice in 2018.