The St.Benedict’s Story
The St Benedict’s Day Nursery was opened on July 25th 1963. The St.Benedict’s Infant Hospital was opened on February 13th 1968. Both facilities were established in Georgetown, St Vincent after studies conducted by the late Father Roland Roberts revealed that the cause of the many infant deaths and resultant funerals that he presided over, were a result of malnutrition and its accompanying complications. With the establishment of St. Benedict’s, Fr Roland’s objective was to nurture and preserve the physical, psychological, social, educational and spiritual health and development of these children. Fr. Roberts, with a few volunteers, managed the Institution for the first eight (8) years of its existence, prior to the arrival of the Corpus Christi Carmelites, in 1971.
The Day Nursery provided daily care for children of poor families; The Day Nursery provided many years of day care services for approximately one hundred (100) children per year, ages 3 months to 4 years. These children came from the lowest social and economic strata of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Throughout its years of service, St. Benedict Day Nursery strove to enhance the lives of children through quality, care and preschool education. The children were served three (3) meals per day. Parents (mainly mothers) were asked to pay a small weekly fee, though many of them were unable to pay.
The first building housing the Day Nursery was a wooden estate house, donated with the land by the late Mr. Basil Balcombe after the sugar factory was destroyed. This estate house was eventually expanded in1969, and again in 1967, as demand for its services grew.
In 1905, the Day Nursery was temporarily suspended because of its dire need for repairs.
Prior to its suspension, the children in the Infant Hospital were housed in a section in the Day Nursery because of its urgent and dire need for repairs after years of ‘wear and tear’ – (a leaking roof etc.)
The Infant Hospital provided services for mal-nourished infants as well as children with conditions such as, sexually and physically abused, abandoned, orphans, mother serving prison sentences. Several of the children we care for presently have been admitted from early childhood. They remained with us because of their mental and physical disabilities and there is no home on the Island to facilitate care of these children.
The Corpus Christi Carmelites thus embarked upon a project to improve the quality of life and services for the children, and increase the number of children who seek care and attention.
Today the children enjoy a comfortable Home – A change over from the St. Benedict Infant Hospital to the St. Benedict Children’s Home.
Construction of this new home began in 2009 after the turning of the Sod on August 15th 2007.
The home was completed and blessed on December 28th 2011, by Bishop Jason Gordon, Bishop of Bridgetown/Kingstown.
After much preparation and donation of refurnished items, e.g. beds, other furniture and appliances, and a generator, the children were transferred to their New Home on February 1st 2012.
While the children enjoy their new home, a centre, St. Benedict Day Centre. This Centre is serving the educational/activity/needs of the non and semi ambulant children was established. This is located in a section of the St. Benedict Day Nursery. The children enjoy going to the Centre daily.
It is so sensational to see the happiness of the children – all in laughter and excitement – as they are taken to the vehicle to be transported to the St. Benedict Centre.
Although they enjoy their present Centre, they look forward for the moment when they can enjoy a more enhanced Centre – of “Excellence”
The none and semi ambulant children continue to enjoy going to the Helping Hands Centre in Kingstown every Thursday. They enjoy the long “ride-out” to the town.
Many areas of improvement are needed to continue the enhancement in the lives of the children. (See wish list).
The Day Nursery is still in the draft form which has already been approved by the Government of
St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Can you help us to move it forward?