Last night, Monday 20 October, the Cherryfielders slept for the first time in their new building. Furniture had been moved across all day, and the first Mass was celebrated this morning, although not in the Chapel, which is still in preparation. The formal blessing and house-warming is planned for 8 December.
In the 30 years since the Province decided to support a nursing unit, and the 27 years since Pedro Arrupe blessed the site, Cherryfield Lodge has matured to the point where it can hand over to a successor. As furniture is moved up the path to the new Cherryfield, the ghosts of previous directors must be stirring: Jim Fitzgerald, Bill White, Paul Leonard, Ned Keelaghan, all gone to the Lord. Mary Ryan marked the happy transition from Jesuits to nurse-directors, and last year she handed on the baton to Rachel McNeill.
Fr John Guiney has been involved since he chaired the first committee to set up Cherryfield, and he is there at the move to the new building, having nursed its finances all through its history. Mary Rickard, pictured here with John in the foyer, has played an equally remarkable role over the years in helping Jesuits through and out of sickness. The plants which they put down in the early days are being transferred to the new garden – part of the landscaping still to be tackled.