McCleary Manor, a new sober living residence and ministry for men, was officially opened and blessed today.
Sister of Providence Margaret McCleary, the namesake of McCleary Manor and founder of Providence Ministries, cut the ribbon for the newly renovated residence. She was joined by Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse; Kathleen Anderson, president of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce; Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski; Karen Blanchard, executive director of Providence Ministries Service Network; Sister of Providence Kathleen Popko, president of the congregation; Anthony Soto, city councilor; Jean Zaleski, Providence Ministries Service Network Board chairperson; and State Sen. Donald Humason following the site’s blessing given by Bishop Rozanski.
McCleary Manor, located at 40 Brightside Drive in Holyoke, is a sober living SRO (single room occupancy) ministry for men and the most recent ministry to come under the umbrella of Providence Ministries Service Network.
Sister McCleary founded Providence Ministries for the Needy, now Providence Ministries Service Network, 35 years ago and first opened Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke on Sept. 27, 1980.
“When we started Providence Ministries 35 years ago it was to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless and it didn’t take very long to realize that hunger and homelessness were symptoms of a disease,” Sister McCleary said. “The disease was injustice… We had to work toward systemic change and also provide the basic needs for people.
So, we did that through the years, always assessing the needs of people and trying to determine what types of programs meet their needs,” she said.” And Provence Ministries today is extraordinary because that’s exactly what they’re doing. I am extraordinarily happy about the way Providence Ministries has moved into the future.”
The house has 25 SROs with 15 rooms still available. According to Blanchard, 10 men will be moving into the house on June 1.
“You have to have nine months of sobriety to even be eligible to come in, and then once they are in here, they have to stay clean and sober,” said Blanchard, adding that random testing will be done.
Dan, a former resident of the Loreto House, located in south Holyoke, will be moving into McCleary Manor on Monday.
“I lived at the Loreto house from September 17 up to today,” Dan said.” It was a really good experience for myself to get off alcohol, which is something I’ve been battling with for about ten years.
“I have a six-year-old son and a girlfriend and I want to make sure my life starts going in the right, positive direction that it should have been in when I was in college,” he said. “Then, alcohol took over my life and it was a sad time in my life. I was not paying attention to what I had to at the time. My life became unmanageable.
”While being at the Loreto house, I was able to get all of my ducks in a row and I have this opportunity now of moving into this new place which looks really great and I think will be really good for myself,Dan
More than a hundred people attended the blessing and open house, including many Sisters of Providence and local public officials.
A special segment on McCleary Manor will air on an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Springfield Diocese’s weekly newsmagazine, which airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.