All Faiths Welcome at The Village at Kensington Place Spiritual Center

July 30, 2018

The Spiritual Center attracted 100-year-old Amelia Habib to the community.

In 2009, the program director for The Village at Kensington Place, a Benchmark Senior Living ( community in Meriden, Conn., acquired four used pews from a church undergoing renovation. Determined to serve her residents’ spiritual needs, the program director spearheaded the creation of a community chapel. Catholic residents used the chapel for Sunday Mass and a rosary group. 

As the community became more diverse, the chapel became the “Spiritual Center” for all religions. Discussions with residents and the resident council led to the idea of adding a library of religious artifacts and making it more comfortable.

Current Program Director Leonora Rodriguez sought assistance from local religious groups and clergy. She not only filled the display with religious artifacts but also recruited clergy to hold Catholic, Jewish and Protestant services. 

“Our Spiritual Center is more than a place to pray,” says Leonora. “It’s now a place where we can learn about different faiths and understand others as ourselves.”

The Spiritual Center is one of the features that attracted resident Amelia Habib to the community. She even donated personal items to the display. Amelia, who recently turned 100, celebrates Mass at her Maronite Catholic Church and in the Spiritual Center, where her church’s priest is occasionally the celebrant.

“I don’t know of a senior community with a Spiritual Center,” says Executive Director Bill Allyn. “When people tour the community, we share the history of the center, and it helps us attract new residents. Above all, it helps us build meaningful connections between our residents.” 

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