Saint Luke’s Home, a residential care home in Cork for older people which also established Ireland’s first specialist unit for people living with dementia, marked the start of its 150th anniversary year yesterday, 1st March 2022.
‘In fact we were a day out’ explained the charity’s longest serving President, Church of Ireland Bishop, Dr Paul Colton. ‘1872 was a Leap Year and the first recorded meeting of the Council of the charity was on 29th February 1872.’
That meeting, according to the Charity’s history, was held ‘at the home of Mrs Gunn, Tuckey Street, Cork.’ Some research was needed and, with the help of Cork City Librarian, David O’Brien, it was established that Mrs Gunn lived at 2 Tuckey Street, Cork in 1872. By total and happy coincidence 2 Tuckey Street, Cork today is occupied by the offices of another great charity known for its Christian compassion and caring: the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Cork.
To mark the 150th anniversary of that first meeting, Bishop Paul Colton chaired a short meeting of the current board at 2 Tuckey Street, the place where the early vision for the charity was charted and the first practical steps were taken under the watchful and visionary eye of the charity’s founder; Miss Frances Fitzgerald Gregg, daughter of the then Bishop of Cork, Dr John Gregg. Since then Church of Ireland Bishops of Cork have each served as President of the charity.
The directors of Saint Luke’s were welcomed to 2 Tuckey Street by Paddy O’Flynn, South-West Regional President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Derry Canty paid tribute to the work of the charity throughout its 150 years. Bishop Colton then read an account of the first meeting held in that place on 29th February 1872. Following a period of silence for commemoration and thanksgiving, the Charity’s prayer was said. Mindful of the tragedies of the current time, prayers were then said for the peace of the world, for all places where there is conflict, and especially for Ukraine.
The main activity of Saint Luke’s Charity Cork is the provision of a 128 residential care home for older people and people living with dementia. The charity employs 280 people at its base at Mahon, Blackrock Cork, where today it also has an outreach programme, a daycare facility and an Education and Research Centre at Northridge House.
More activities are planned for the 150th anniversary year, concluding with a Service of Thanksgiving in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork on Saint Luke’s Day, 18th October 2022.