Mercy Sisters’ Home Provides Refuge during Florence

Mercy Sisters’ Home Provides Refuge during Florence

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Residents of Carobell, a home for intellectually disabled people in Jacksonville, N.C., take refuge Sept. 16 at Holy Angels in Belmont after Hurricane Florence forced them from their home. (CNS photo/courtesy Holy Angels)

BELMONT, N.C. (CNS) – Holy Angels, a home in Belmont for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, lived up to its reputation of hospitality, sheltering a group of medically fragile North Carolinians fleeing from Tropical Storm Florence. The home, run by the Sisters of Mercy, took in a group of individuals from a similar facility near Jacksonville, North Carolina, after the town was evacuated because of the Category 1 storm. Florence made landfall along the Carolinas coast the morning of Sept. 14 as a hurricane, then was downgraded as a tropical storm. It claimed at least 32 lives and caused catastrophic flooding in many parts of eastern North Carolina. Forty-six residents and staff of Carobell left the small town of Hubert near Jacksonville September 12 in a caravan of 11 vehicles, slowly making the 260-mile trek to Holy Angels, their designated emergency safe site.

Twelve of Carobell’s more medically fragile residents, along with 11 staff members, evacuated to Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville to shelter in place there. It was the first evacuation in Carobell’s 49-year history. They were greeted with open arms when they arrived at Holy Angels, then treated to a special dinner of steak, salad and baked potatoes.

“From the time we got here, we felt the spirit of hospitality,” said Carobell’s president and CEO Vanessa Ervin. “You can’t put it into words, the gratitude that we have.”