Call & Response: Benedictine Nursing Center’s history recounted

April 2010 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Other

Sister Antoinette Traeger, OSB, served as first administrator of the Benedictine Nursing Center in 1955. She collaborated the Tom Ewing to produce the book recounting the center’s history.In the 1950s, some citizens of Mount Angel established a small nursing home with 17 residents. They soon discovered that founding a nursing home and running it were very different situations. They appealed to the Benedictine Sisters, who agreed to supervise it.

Thus began the Benedictine Nursing Center.

The story of the center is told in the soon-to-be-published book, Call & Response, by Mount Angel resident Tom Ewing in collaboration with Sister Antoinette Traeger.

Ewing said he had been approached by Susan Gallagher of Providence Benedictine Nursing Center who had an idea that a history of the facility should be written. She had heard some of the stories from Sister Antoinette Traeger, O.S.B., its first administrator.

“I was thinking of writing a brochure,” said Ewing, but after talking with Sister Antoinette and the other sisters and delving through the archives, “The project started growing.”

Ewing researched and wrote the history over a period of a year and a half.

“Sister Antoinette is such a lovely, wonderful lady and the story became intriguing,” he said.

Two years after taking over operation of the nursing home, in 1957, having outgrown their original building, the sisters raised money to construct another at the present location.

Advance publication book orders
Call & Response
by Tom Ewing in collaboration
with Sister Antoinette Traeger

Ordered by April 30: $24.95,
if you pick the book up in Mount Angel.

There’s a $5.95 shipping and handling fee
for mailing. To order send your name, address,
telephone number and email address to:
Benedictine Foundation of Oregon, P.O. Box 912,
Mount Angel, OR 97362. For infomation:
503-845-2556 or
May 1 and after: $29.95 available at
the Shalom Prayer Center gift shop.

“In the years that followed, the BNC flourished, achieving a state, national, and even international reputation for innovation, compassion and quality of care for the elderly,” Ewing said. “In the 1960s, for example, BNC partnered with Mount Angel College, also owned and operated by the sisters, to establish the Institute of Gerontology offering a degree program for nursing home professionals, one of the first in the nation.”
Under succeeding administrators – Sister Marilyn Schwab, Sister Lucia Gamroth and John Hogan – the nursing home continued to expand its services, innovating at every step. For fiscal and other reasons, the Sisters transferred ownership of the BNC in 1998 to the Providence Health System.

Those interested in purchasing the book may order in advance of release. All profits from the sale of the book will benefit the Benedictine Foundation.

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