When you think about the history of St. Anne’s Retirement Community in Columbia, Pennsylvania, you cannot help but think of Sister Mary Carmela Guito. She has left behind many fingerprints that are still evident today, beyond her picture hanging in the hallway.

St. Joseph’s Academy

Sister Mary Carmela Guito was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 12, 1925. She graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class at Lancaster Catholic High School in 1944.  Service, hospitality, and a love for God drew her to join the Adorers in 1953. She spent the first few years of her religious life teaching primary students before studying business. Her studies in business took her to three states for education, and she was well prepared for what was to become 20 years of growth and hard work at St. Joseph’s Academy in Columbia, Pennsylvania, as head of the business department and assistant principal.

She responded to the needs of the community and left the ministry, which she loved dearly, to study administration in gerontology. At the completion of her studies, Carmela was named administrator of St. Anne’s Home in Columbia, Pennsylvania in 1979. She was following in the footsteps of Sister Annunciata Lorenzo who had just finished 20 years of administration with three expansions, not easy shoes to fill, but Carmela agreed to give it her all. During the transfer of administrators, St. Anne’s was already in the process of expansion.

$20 Million Expansion

When Carmela began her term as administrator, St. Anne’s was a small and private institution. Not long after the first expansion, Carmela realized that even though she loved the home the way it was, it was beginning to become obsolete. Something needed to be done soon. Carmela went to the board and shared her ideas of what she was dreaming. Her dreams included renovations and enhancements to the home and expansion to make it a senior care facility. It was not an easy sell to the board, but with her leadership abilities, the board got behind her and said yes to a $20 million project to enhance what was St. Anne’s Home. Carmela kept her energy, drive, and love for the residents and staff during the massive project. She inspired all employees and volunteers to give their best and to love the people.

Carmela’s love for the elderly was evident to all who met her. It just seemed to radiate from her being all the time. Even when she retired as administrator at St. Anne’s, she continued to volunteer and be a presence when she was able. Carmela was able to help and remind us to find the goodness of every day.

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