Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village: St. Louis, Missouri



Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village (1992)







Resident's Room (1999)








The Holy Family Chapel (2000)

In December of 1991, the Alexian Brothers purchased a nursing home in South St. Louis County known as Sherbrooke Village Nursing Center. It had 120 nursing home beds and 44 residential care units and was located about five miles south of Alexian Brothers Hospital. It had been opened in February 1990 by Taylor-Morley, Inc., a leading St. Louis homebuilder and developer. Situated on 15.4 acres, the 74,500 square foot complex featured wooded views and plenty of room for picnics and walks. The one-story skilled nursing center was connected to the two-story residential care facility, which included efficiency and one-bedroom apartments, a dining room, a lounge, and an activity area. It was about 90% occupied at the time of the purchase.

The video, "Home Sweet Home" was released in February 1994. The video by Joan Carter Johnson was the culmination of ten years of research backed by her knowledge and experience as a gerontologist and consultant in the elder-care field.The 15-minute video provided practical advice on home safety for seniors and covered such things as handrails in the bathrooms, safe use of step ladders and proper precautions for staircases. The video was produced as a community service byAlexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village and there was no charge for the video.The video was presented during the Governor's Council on Aging in Kansas City. This was an annual event hosted by the Governor bringing together consumers and professionals from across the State.

The dedication of the Chapel of St. John of God took place on October 5, 1994. The Chapel and the Statue of Saint John of God, the patron Saint of Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village were blessed by Reverend John Siesle. Deacon Gene Czarnecki, Sister Anna Wren and Brothers from the St. Louis community attended the dedication.

Residents and staff of Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village enjoyed a very special day on July 17, 1996, the Feast of St. Alexius. At this time, an oil painting of the St. Alexiusand a print of Brother Bonaventure Thelen were dedicated in the main lobby of Sherbrooke Village.A liturgywas followed bythe dedication and blessing afterwhichthe Alexian Spirit Committee distributed St. Alexius prayer cards and crosses or praying hands to all employees of the facility.

In the fall of 1999, the State of Missouri recognizedAlexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village for an innovative program in which Village residents prepared sandwiches for a local shelter that served the homeless. "Sandwiches for the Homeless" program earned second place in the "Facility/Community Partnerships" category in the statewide Best Practices Program. The State defined a best practice as, "any intervention developed by a facility that improves residents' lives or living conditions." The program was implemented by Sherbrooke Village in February 1997. The program allowed residents to have a sense of usefulness by volunteering to help others. The State of Missouri also recognized Sherbrooke Village's "Grandbuddies" and "Adopt a Resident" programs in the State's 1998 Missouri Best Practices publication. "Grandbuddies" was a program in which first grade students would visit and participate in activities with Village residents. "Adopt a Resident" program focused on reducing falls among Village residents by pairing them with volunteers who help them understand and address individual risk factors, behaviors and situations that would lead to falls.

A new larger chapel was built in 2000 with a $25,000.00 donation. It was decided to dedicate the new chapel to the Holy Family since Sherbrooke Village was like a family home. The Blessing of the new Holy Family Chapel took place on January 27, 2000. The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton,S.T.D., Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis presided. Brother Richard Dube, C.F.A., Brother Lawrence Krueger, C.F.A., Brother Warren Longo, C.F.A. and Reverend Mr. Gene Czarnecki were in attendance.

During 2002, Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village initiated the Highway to Heaven program. This program allowed the entire Sherbrooke Village community - residents, staff and family members - to show respect for a resident who had passed away. When a resident expired, the funeral director would arrive at the facility to remove the body and an announcement was made over the PA system, "Highway to Heaven," followed by the hall or division where the resident lived. The funeral director then prepared the individual. The body was covered with a special pall, a simple white cloth covering with a gold cross sewn on it. This was kept folded at the Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village chapel. Once the participating staff, residents and visitors lined the hallway, the processional would begin. The deceased was brought out with the leader first, family member (if any) would be next, followed by participating staff or residents. The procession then walked out the front door to the waiting hearse. The processional would pause, prayers were said and then the funeral pall would be removed, folded and returned to the chapel. The Highway to Heaven program enhanced the relationship among residents, family members and staff.

The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) chose Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village for the 2003 Community Service Award. Sherbrooke was recognized for publishing and widely distributing the "Guide to End-of-Life Issues." AAHSA commended Alexian Brothers for their commitment to the principle that every person deserves to die with dignity and that family and professional caregivers needed better support, comfort and understanding of end-of-life issues. Alexian Brothers' outreach, through the Guide, exemplified the Quality First approach to consumer-centered aging services. The award was presented to Michael Roth during the AAHSA's Annual Meeting in Denver, CO October 2003.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services honored Sherbrooke Village with a Best Practices award for Sherbrooke's "Highway to Heaven" program.The program was judged the best in the Resident Dignity category in the State's 2003 Best Practices in Skilled Facilities competition. Michael Roth, President and C.E.O. and Brother Richard Dube, C.F.A., Director of Mission Integration for the St. Louis region of Alexian Brother Health System, delivered a presentation about the program at Missouri's first Show Me Summit on Aging and Health in March 2004.

The Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging recognized Alexian Brothers Sherbrooke Village for outstanding service to the aging and honored Michael Roth, President and C.E.O. of Sherbrooke. Sherbrooke Village earned the 2004 Excellence in Service Award for the "Highway to Heaven" program. Michael Roth earned the E. Willis Piehl Award for outstanding and exceptional contributions to senior services in Missouri.

On June 23, 2006, a Rededication and Open House were held to celebrate the completion of a $2.8 million renovation project that gave the facility a more comfortable, homelike atmosphere while increasing community space and creating a special-care unit for residents with early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. The year long project included the renovation of 30,000 square feet of Sherbrooke's skilled nursing facility and the addition of another 5,500 square feet.

Copyright Alexian Brothers Provincial Archives, 2007