McCleary Manor, which overlooks the Providence Behavioral Health Network Hospital, is named for Sister Margaret McCleary, who founded Providence Ministries for the Needy in 1980.
“I was stunned,” McCleary said. “Being honored in this way is very humbling, and I’m so grateful because I know it will be a program that provides supportive and compassionate care to the men who will call this place home.”
While McCleary Manor celebrated its grand opening, the building itself has been home to many over the years. Sister Kathleen Popko said it has housed babies and toddlers, been used for Catechism classes, served as a convent and, most recently, was home to an adolescent treatment program, the Honor House.
Popko said the storied history of the building only adds to its new purpose.
“So here we have a building ready to become a home again, a place where those who reside here will be supported, not only by Providence Ministries, the Sisters of Providence and so many of you gathered here, but also by the history of this building and the wonderful work that has been carried on here, a place where people, especially children, were encouraged to grow to be their best selves,” Popko said.
When the Honor House moved to Behavioral Health Hospital in June 2013, Popko brought the property to the attention of Karen Blanchard, executive director of the Providence Ministries Service Network. While the group had its eyes on an initiative for sober, male housing, the building provided a place for it to come to fruition.
The Sisters leased the building to the Providence Ministries and renovated the exterior of the building. A Massachusetts Housing grant and private donations helped pay for the interior renovations, Blanchard said.
“I must admit, it truly has taken a village to make this day happen,” Blanchard said.
Though the renovations were delayed because of the winter’s storms, construction on McCleary Manor finished the day before the grand opening, Popko said. Now, it is ready to become home to 25 local men.
“My hope and prayer is that the hallmark of McCleary Manor will be an environment of respect and compassionate care that will support the men who will live here, hopefully ushering them into a new stage of growth and hope in their lives,” McCleary said.
More than 125 people attended the celebration, including Sisters of Providence, elected officials and community members. Among local officials were state Sen. Don Humason, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and President of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce Kathleen Anderson.