WILMINGTON – Bishop William Koenig blessed the chapel of the new “Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent,” then walked with Ministry of Caring Executive Director Brother Ronald Giannone, OFM Cap., and four resident Sisters of the Infant Jesus to bless other rooms of the convent at Sixth and Scott streets.
The bishop’s blessings highlighted a dedication ceremony held June 1, full of prayer, readings, hymns by the Capuchin Poor Clares and the chapel’s first Holy Communion.
The bishop’s presence lent solemn joy to the gathering, especially as he prayed for the convent to grow as a sanctuary of peace and love, inspire the community and deepen the faith of all who live or visit there.
The convent’s Sisters of the Infant Jesus, who recently arrived from India to serve the poor, will be helping Ministry of Caring staff and volunteers feed the hungry at Emmanuel Dining Room and provide low-cost, high-quality childcare for lower-income working parents at the ministry’s childcare centers.
So begins a new chapter for the historic building, which longtime ministry supporter Barbra Andrisani and her late husband Paul gave the Ministry in 1997. This was his childhood home, also housing three generations of his family’s businesses.
“We will always be grateful to the Andrisani family,” Brother Ronald said. “This place is so beautiful.”
The two-story brick building was built in sections circa 1910 and 1920 that were joined together. An angled front door facing the corner served customers of his parents’ neighborhood grocery store for decades.
“Before that, it was his grandparents’ butcher shop,” Barbra said. “The conference room was where the butcher shop was, but it wasn’t that big. At the back was a big walk-in refrigerator. After it was his parents’ store, he renovated it for his office.”
And the chapel? “That was always a bedroom, far as we know,” her brother-in-law Joe Andrisani said, as guests chatted after the dedication.
The Ministry of Caring will continue to identify the property at 1803 West Sixth Street as the Andrisani Building in reference to its counseling services offered on the first floor.
In its weekly staff newsletter, the Ministry sent its thanks to the Andrisanis, Bishop Koenig, all who have worked on the building, its resident Sisters, the Capuchin Poor Clares, Father Meena Gude, OFM Cap., Aga Opechowska and all the dedication guests for making the occasion so special.