Saint John Vianney Center is located in Downington Pennsylvania. The town is a suburb of Philadelphia and situated about 30 miles from that city center. Due to COVID the institution kept itself locked tight. I was entirely “grounded” for the entire length of my stay. When I arrived I was expected to wear a face mask all of the time until I had been checked once again for COVID and passed the test. Once that happened I was able to eat in the common room with the other residents, sitting at table and converse with them.
SJVC describes itself in this way: The Saint John Vianney Center (SJVC) serves Catholic Clergy, Consecrated Men and Women Religious and clergy of other Christian denominations worldwide. We provide holistic, inter-disciplinary, evidence-based, and individualized programs for behavioral and emotional issues, addictive disease and compulsive behaviors, weight management, and prevention and education. SJVC recognizes that challenging issues arise during one’s vocational journey. We help individuals navigate life’s difficulties, spiritual and vocational struggles, very stressful times, transitions, and behavior and addiction concerns. Our goal is to restore one’s physical, behavioral and spiritual well-being for their return to appropriate and effective ministry.
There were mostly nuns, brothers and priests in residence while I was there. I did not meet any non-Catholic clergy members amongst the residents. There were approximately 40 other people who were in residence with me. The population shifted regularly as some “graduated” and other new people arrived. There were a variety of ages as well as reasons that brought residents to SJVC. Out of respect for the confidentiality of each person there this is as much as I shall tell you about others, though in the next couple of weeks I will tell you some of my experiences as a resident.