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Cultural blessing recognizes new beginnings in Comox for seniors and elders

October 13, 2021 – September 30 was a special day for The Views at St. Joseph’s. Not only did we acknowledge our first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, but members of the K’omoks First Nation also hosted a cultural blessing on the site of what will become Providence Living, Together By the Sea.

According to K’omoks Councillor Kat Frank, Chief and Council suggested in 2020 that the grounds of the former St. Joseph’s be blessed prior to any changes made to the former structure and the sacred grounds it was built upon. Four residential school survivors also attended the blessing, giving the occasion special meaning.

“The blessing was held to acknowledge the history of the K’omoks people prior to any contact with European settlers,” said Coun. Frank. “It also acknowledged more recent times when St. Joseph’s was in full operation as our only hospital where many of our children were born, where many of our elders had passed, and where our families visited far-and wide-from the north for many medical appointments. The walls of the St. Joe’s have seen many tears of pure joy, sadness, and pain.”

The blessing preceded site preparation for Providence Living Place, Together By the Sea which will begin during the week of October 11, with our official start to construction slated for early spring 2022. During site preparation, the one-level building that formerly served as St. Joseph’s emergency department entrance will be demolished.

As Canada’s first dementia village, our new long-term care facility – Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea – will be a place where the emotional health of residents will be as important as their physical health. Providence Living will be moving care away from an institutional to move toward a social model of care.

“Our goal will be focused on merging quality medical care with an environment that promotes the enrichment of daily life of our residents,” said Candace Chartier, president and CEO, Providence Living. “It will also be a place that reflects the cultures and values of all the people who call the Comox Valley home.”

Added Coun. Frank: “The blessing is important work that identifies the new beginnings, and that a new space will be created for our seniors and elders. It will ensure that everyone who works on this piece of land is safe from harm and that all good things will keep everyone safe during the demolition phase through to completion of the new dementia village.”

The following are a few photos from the K’omoks First Nation cultural blessing: