In extending our welcome, the people of the Diocese of Lexington encounter and serve Jesus by attending to the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain of each guest who enters this sanctuary of hospitality.
Founded by a couple and the prayers of many people in The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington in 1975, St. Agnes’ House was staffed by the Society of St. Margaret for its first years. The University of Kentucky has supported the ministry through a rent-free lease of the property ever since its existence. The house was open to patients located in eastern Kentucky and other Appalachian counties who needed cancer treatments at Lexington care facilities. Their original mission was to “provide a warm, homey atmosphere in which cancer patients can feel safe and cared for, as little like an institution as possible.”
Nearly 40 years later, St. Agnes’ House still maintains the same desire to care for those who need treatment in Kentucky. The house consists of nine rooms with either a double, twin, or both beds. Guests share bathrooms, kitchens, and living spaces where they can converse with guests who are dealing with the same difficulties.
St. Agnes reaches out to the surrounding communities and families to provide an option for those who have no more options and are in need of a helping hand.
Deloris Robinson, her daughter Sarah and her daughter’s boyfriend Casey Gray are an example of the kind of outreach St. Agnes’ House does. When Sarah had to be rushed to the hospital to give birth to her premature son Bentley, the family was worried about the costs that would arise from it. With no money for a hotel, and no family in the area, the family searched for someone to lend them a helping hand in their hour of need. Then the hospital recommended to them the St. Agnes House. At first they were worried because the house usually will not let people under 18 years of age stay in the house, but because of their conditions the house welcomed them with open arms.
When Rev. S’s wife was admitted to University of Kentucky Medical Center, she was in a coma and not expected to recover. His son and daughter, who live in Texas and Virginia respectively, had traveled to Kentucky to be with their 83 year old father. However, both needed to return home to their families and jobs. Rev. S’s son phoned seeking accommodations for his father, who has his own medical issues and uses a walker. At the end of the conversation, it was agreed that the family-style setting would be a good match for his father. Rev. S. was a joyous addition to our community and was quickly “adopted” by the other guests. They love to hear stories about his years in small church ministry in eastern Kentucky. Guests engaged in friendly competition over who got to drive Rev. S to the hospital to visit his wife or assist him with other errands. In return, his consistent good humor and positive outlook encourages our other guests, each of whom struggle daily with their personal issues.
This story had a happy ending. After several weeks at UK, Mrs. S’s condition gradually began to improve. We all rejoiced with Rev. S when she was transferred to Cardinal Hill Hospital for rehabilitation. Shortly thereafter she was able to return home where she continues to enjoy her regained health.
If you have had experience with the St. Agnes’ House we would love to hear your St. Agnes’ story.