Archdiocese Local

Faith in Bloom looks to beautify Villa’s outdoors

Villa St. Francis will host its Faith in Bloom benefit on May 7 at the Olathe Conference Center at Embassy Suites, located at 10401 S. Ridgeview Rd. COURTESY PHOTO

by Chris DiMaso
Special to The Leaven

OLATHE — This year marks Villa St. Francis’ 77th year serving the Kansas City community’s most vulnerable. It’s also the post-COVID return of celebrating that mission while raising funds to support it at the annual Faith in Bloom benefit dinner.

Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Villa St. Francis offers long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, skilled memory care and hospice suites.

The Villa was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1945 and, since its founding, has followed the same mission: embracing Christ’s love for all people by providing care to those in need with compassion, excellence and dignity, with a special concern for the poor.

“The pandemic has impacted Villa St. Francis in significant ways. We weren’t able to maintain our property to the standard our residents have become accustomed. The goal of Faith in Bloom in 2022 is to fund the outside beautification of our property,” said Rodney Whittington, CEO of Villa St. Francis since 2014.

“During the pandemic, these outdoor spaces became increasingly more important,” he continued. “We used them for families to visit their loved ones. These spaces were crucial in taking care of our residents.

“Because we run a gap between the high level of care we provide and the amount Medicaid will reimburse, we rely on the donations of our supporters. Faith in Bloom is a great way for people to get involved.”

Faith in Bloom was in the midst of being planned when, in March 2020, the pandemic put everything on hold. For the safety of everyone, the event hasn’t been held the last two years. The last time it was held, Faith in Bloom was a luncheon. But in 2022, the event will be a dinner.

“We are excited to bring this event back in an evening setting,” said Jackie Hollis, chief operating officer of Villa St. Francis. “It will be a magical night to celebrate. Truly, something you don’t want to miss.

“Without support from our community, the mission just wouldn’t be possible.”

But Whittington has been inspired by the community support.

“In my eight years at the Villa,” he said, “the growth and improvements that we’ve seen — thanks to the hard work of our staff and the generosity of the archdiocesan and metro community — have been incredible.”

Villa St. Francis has renovated the chapel, main lobby, and memory care area. Recently, it also completely remodeled a hallway to become a dedicated hospice wing. These rooms are designed for specific patient and family care.

“We wanted a way to bring our community of supporters together to thank them and celebrate all this growth, and to show them the outcomes of these seeds they’ve been planting and sowing over the years,” said Whittington.

From this idea, the annual Villa St. Francis Faith in Bloom benefit was born.

This year’s dinner will help fund the outdoor beautification of resident areas. Villa St. Francis has several patios where residents can venture outside and enjoy the nice weather. These areas have many needs, including fixing gazebos, painting and landscaping.

At the dinner, the inaugural Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann Sanctity of Life Award will be presented to the Sisters, Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick. The gala is scheduled for May 7 from 5:30  to 9 p.m. at the Olathe Conference Center at Embassy Suites, located at 10401 S. Ridgeview Road.

Individual tickets are $200 and can be purchased online at:

For table reservations and sponsorship information, contact Chris DiMaso at (913) 829-5201.

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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