This year marks the 40th anniversary of hospice care at Milford Care Centre, pioneered by the Little Company of Mary (LCM) Order, which celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, and both milestones are recorded in the newly published book, A Journey of Hope.
Entitled A Journey of Hope, the book is written by Sister Brigid Finucane one of the three pioneering nuns who worked in the original hospice.
A Journey of Hope chronicles the history of the Order, including the young Mary Potter’s radical social and caring work in 19th century 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 in 187 by the Venerable Mary Potter in a disused Nottingham factory, the LCM Order first provided hospice care for people with life-limiting conditions in the Mid-West Region in 1977.
A Journey of Hope records how the Sisters purchased the Georgian Milford House at Castletroy in 1923 and established a Novitiate there. Space was allocated 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 for hospice care in 1977 in what was a highly progressive move in Irish healthcare at the time.
Milford Hospice has undergone a number of expansions since then, with the provision of a range of inpatient and day care services. 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.
Coinciding with Milford Hospice’s 40th anniversary, A Journey of Hope also highlights how, 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.
A Journey of Hope 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, associates and other agencies who have given wonderful support.
Sister Brigid Finucane’s book, A Journey of Hope, was produced with editorial assistance from Colman Garrihy and a foreword by Dr Matthew Potter, curator of Limerick Museum, who launched the publication.
The book also outlines the rich heritage of Milford House, including details of the three prominent Limerick families previously associated with the building – the Maunsells, who built it; the Dowager Lady Massy who lived there for many years; and the Russells, who sold the building to LCM in 1923.
Special guest speaker at the launch was RTE Religious and Social Affairs correspondent, Joe Little, 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 – the inspiring story of the Little Company of Mary and Milford Care Centre will be available at Milford Care Centre and in the Hospice Shop in Thomas Street, Limerick.
All proceeds generated from this publication will form part of fundraising income to support the work of Milford Hospice in 2018.