St. Elizabeth Home celebrates 50 years Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Aug. 03, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
st elizabeth home
Sr. Faustina Nath, SCMC, administrator of St. Elizabeth Home in Janesville, helps an elderly resident to the chapel during a celebration of the home’s 50th anniversary on July 12. There was a Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino followed by a reception for residents, staff, supporters, and guests. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

JANESVILLE — “To each of our residents, those still with us this afternoon and those who celebrate with us from their place of eternity, we who have served here owe our profound thanks for trusting us with your care — with your very lives — permitting us to see the face of God in each of you.”

Those were the words of Mother Marie Julie Saegarert, SCMC, superior general of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church.

They were part of a letter read by Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison during a Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of St. Elizabeth Home in Janesville — a skilled nursing residence owned and operated by the Sisters.

The Mass and celebration took place on July 12.

Residents and staff, along with supporters and special guests, attended the Mass.

Along with Bishop Morlino, Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Thomas Marr, chaplain for St. Elizabeth Home; Fr. Greg Ihm, vocations director for the Diocese of Madison; Fr. Robert Butz, pastor of Nativity of Mary Parish in Janesville; Fr. Brian Dulli, pastor of St. William Parish in Janesville; and Fr. Tim Renz, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Janesville.

Treasures of wisdom, sacrifice, and suffering

As Mass began, Bishop Morlino welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.

“We’re very proud and very grateful to be with you this afternoon,” Bishop Morlino said.

“We pray for the dear residents and your needs and that you feel the love and peace of the Lord, the patience of the Lord through your days here under the care of these wonderful Sisters.”

Also in the letter from Mother Marie Julie that Bishop Morlino read, were the words, “Since the opening of this skilled nursing home . . . countless hundreds of individuals have called this establishment their ‘home’. In more recent years, it has served as a safe harbor where people have come to find strength before returning home after serious medical events.”

The letter went on to say, “Countless individuals have become part of the St. Elizabeth Home family, without whom we could have never fulfilled our mission to provide quality health care with compassion, love, and service, according to the Gospel of Jesus.”

In his homily, Bishop Morlino reflected on the residents at the home, whom Mother Marie Julie, in her letter, called each one of them, “the most important person in the world.”

“Each of our residents here has gone through in their life a lot of experience and the rewards,” said Bishop Morlino, “the fruits of that experience are wisdom and sacrifice and suffering.”

The bishop added, “Each one of our residents is a treasure of wisdom and sacrifice and suffering . . . that makes you the most important person in the world . . . don’t ever get into thinking of yourself as a burden to anyone . . . you’re a treasury of wisdom, suffering, and sacrifice.”

Bishop Morlino went on to say, “All that you have learned through your whole life in good times and in bad, [is] so much to teach us, not only by what you say, but by your example.”

He added, “If you’re patient in your suffering, that example is so refreshing for the Church and before the eyes of God and his Blessed Mother.”

Bishop Morlino also told the elderly residents he hoped their grandchildren paid special attention to the wisdom the Lord placed in their hearts through their experience over many years.

“You’re not simply someone who’s done a lot in your past,” Bishop Morlino said. “By being who you are today, you do so much to build up the Church of Christ to build up the kingdom of God.”

At the conclusion of Mass, Sr. Faustina Nath, SCMC, administrator of St. Elizabeth Home, thanked everyone for coming and said, “This must be what heaven is like, surrounded by all the saints.”

Following Mass, a reception was held in the dining room of the home.

Residents, staff, and guests enjoyed cake and other food delights while visiting with each other.

History of the home

The history of St. Elizabeth Home goes back even further than its 50 years of service.

In 1949, a woman named Elizabeth Lillis died and under the terms of her will, after a few specific bequests, she left “all the rest, residue, and remainder” of her estate to the Diocese of Madison “to establish a Catholic home for the aged within said diocese.”

It was from these funds that the diocese was able to purchase the home to fulfill the terms of Elizabeth’s will.

In 1956, the diocese opened the house to older women who could not live on their own.

At that time, the home and its residents were taken care of by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul from Zams, Austria.

The number of residents in the house continued to grow and the home became too full.

Eventually, a skilled nursing facility was built around the original home.

St. Elizabeth Home or “The Lillis Home” was officially opened on April 15, 1967.

Today, it is the home to 43 residents.

The original house is now the convent for the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church who, as of 1974, own the nursing home.

Mission of the home

The mission of St. Elizabeth Home is to provide quality healthcare to residents in a spirit of compassion, love, and service according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The mission of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church is to embrace their two-fold mission of sanctity and service.

In a spirit of simplicity, they aspire to live a life rooted in the Gospel, in imitation of Mary and expressed by prayer, charity, self-denial, and loving submission.

The Sisters devote themselves to the works of charity and, as true daughters in the heart of the Church, serve others through the apostolates of education, caring for the sick, the aging, and the poor, wherever there is a need.

How to help

There are many ways to help the mission of St. Elizabeth Home.

One is through prayer.

The home asks everyone to keep St. Elizabeth Home, and especially all of the residents, in your daily prayers.

Also pray for the families who have a loved one at St. Elizabeth.

Another way to help is through donations.

Donations to St. Elizabeth Home help in many ways.

From improving facilities to enhancing the activities they can provide to residents, the generosity will have a definite impact on the lives of others.

Checks can be made out to St. Elizabeth Home and can be mailed to or dropped off at 109 S. Atwood Ave, Janesville, WI 53545

Donation can also be made online at

Funds accepting donations include the general giving fund and the building renovation fund, and also candles can be in memory of a loved one for a small donation.

Another way to help is to volunteer.

“Caring hands, healing hearts” is the way St. Elizabeth Home describes its devotion and dedication to all who enter its doors.

The home is blessed to have volunteers who personify this mission statement.

If you are interested in giving your time to St. Elizabeth Home, call 608-752-6709.

Some volunteers enjoy visiting with residents. Some make bingo extra special. Others share a talent like music or art.

Whatever your gift for giving may be, St. Elizabeth Home staff say it can find something you will love doing.

Join in the celebration

On Saturday, Aug. 19, there will be an open house celebrating 50 years of St. Elizabeth Home.

It will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with the home’s annual family picnic.

Other future activities include the 10th annual Caring Hands, Healing Hearts Golf Outing, which will be held on Monday, Sept. 11.

More details will be forthcoming on that and future 50th anniversary events during the rest of 2017.

St. Elizabeth Home is located at 109 S. Atwood Ave. in Janesville.

For more information, call 608-752-6709 or go to

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