Former rectory to serve families of hospital patients as Grace Guest House

Oct 2, 2017

Families with loved ones undergoing care at Mercy Hospital now have an option, if needed to stay nearby at a new hospitality center not far from the South Buffalo medical center. The Grace Guest House was formally dedicated Monday.

The Grace Guest House was four years in the making, as explained by its president and founding director, Cynthia Battista, who got the idea after learning about a friend's experience. That friend's son suffered a serious medical crisis and the family needed to travel hundreds of miles to support him.

Mercy Hospital president and chief executive officer C.J. Urlaub speaks during the dedication ceremony for Grace Guest House in South Buffalo. The guest house's founding director and president, Cynthia Battista, stands behind State Senator Timothy Kennedy and Congressman Brian Higgins.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO


"We have founded this new institution for South Buffalo and actually for the families who don't live in South Buffalo but come from far away, because they have a loved one who is very sick and in need of care at Mercy Hospital," Battista said. 

The guest house is located on Seneca Street in what was the rectory of the former St. John the Evangelist Church. There Monday to bless the Grace Guest House was the Reverend Robert Mock, who was the last residing pastor in the rectory. He expressed his delight in the mission the house will now serve.

"I think this house, my rectory, is in such great keeping with what was St. John Evangeslist parish," Father Mock said. "And also in keeping with the mission of Sisters of Mercy, their sense of hospitality."

Dr. Jeffrey Steinig, a surgeon at Mercy Hospital, recalled when his father suffered a stroke and underwent care. He recalled driving from the City of Tonawanda and said that his family could have used a facility like this.

"Patients when they're sick, it's been clearly demonstrated, they do so much better when their family members are around," Dr. Steinig said. "It doesn't have to be 24/7, but the more family members are around, the better the patients do."

Families who use the Grace Guest House will have access to complimentary transportation back and forth. West Herr Auto Group has donated a shuttle van to support the guest house and those who stay there.