Official Ribbon-Cutting: Sr. Mary Francesca Buczkowski (center) was joined by officialsDana Greenberg, NYS Homeless Housing andAssistance Corporation; James Lonergan, Delta Development; Lenny Skrill, NYS Office of Housing Community Renewal; Sr. AnneMarie Jablonicky; Diane Benczkowski, Cheektowaga Town Supervisor; and Ben Upshaw, CB-Emmanuel Realty, LLC
The opening hymn “All Are Welcome” resounded through the halls of the former Villa Maria Academy where sisters, guests and future residents joyfully joined in song at a March 12 ceremony marking the opening of Angela’s House in Buffalo, NY.
Since the closing of the high school in 2006, the Buffalo sisters have prayed daily to Blessed Mary Angela for a “ministry for our academy building that would embrace our Felician values and mission.” A fulfillment of these 15 years of intercession, Angela’s House now offers 67 affordable senior housing units, 12 of which are supportive units for special needs residents and formerly unhoused people.
Sr. Mary Francesca Buczkowski, Sr. Jeremy Marie Midura and Sr. Anne Marie Jablonicky collaborated with developers, New York’s government housing services and housing ministries for homeless people and women veterans to give new life to this beautiful and historic 80,000 square-foot building. During the renovation, original features were salvaged and reused, including the hardwood flooring and wood doors. Some of the original signage on the rooms provides reminders of their past: “Biology Lab,”“Chemistry Lab” and “Laundry.”
At the opening event, Felician Sisters of North America Provincial Minister Sr. Judith Marie Kubicki led a prayer of blessing, while Sr. Mary Therese Chmura, local minister at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, addressed the new residents. Felician Sisters presented each new resident with a welcome gift and prayed over them: “Lord, we ask your blessing upon them. Be their shelter when they are at home, their companion when they areaway and their welcome when they return. May they always know your peace.”
At the announcement of the project, Governor Kathy Hochul said, “All New Yorkers deserve a safe, stable place to live — especially seniors and older adults who have experienced homelessness.” By reimagining their space and welcoming strangers into their home, with song, prayer and solidarity, the Felician Sisters have contributed significantly to a vision of justice and peace — and a more equitable future for all.