Villa Maria Primary Care Celebrates One Year of Healing

Mar 13 2023

It’s been one year since our Youngstown market opened a primary care practice at Villa Maria Community Center to care for our founding congregation, the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.

Since opening, the practice is making it possible to provide the Sisters with more convenient access to health care.

The Villa, as it is called, is located on 760 acres in western Pennsylvania, one mile east of the Ohio state line. It is home to 40 Sisters of the Humility of Mary, the Motherhouse, a working farm, conference center, the Villa Maria apartments and, now, our ministry’s first primary care practice in Pennsylvania.

Since founding Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, the Sisters have served as nurses, pharmacists, educators, administrators, social workers, leaders and more throughout the years, growing Mercy Health into what it is today. This primary care practice enables us to care for the Sisters who have been instrumental in shaping our ministry, while also honoring the legacy of our Foundresses.

Sister Margaret Ebin, HM, originally thought she would grow up to become a nurse and surprised her parents when she told them she’d be joining the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. After living in Youngstown for 35 years and working at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, Sister Margaret moved to the Villa. The new practice has made it easier for her to get to appointments.

“My long-time physician retired in 2020. As I was looking for a new physician, Dr. Kravec’s name came to me through people who knew her,” Sister Margaret explains. “They gave me her cellphone and said to call her. When I called, she was so gracious and willing to see me. I started seeing her in 2020 before she set up the practice at Villa Maria. It’s so helpful now to not have to travel for appointments. She’s here a half-day a week and it is easy to see her. This has been a very convenient service for the sisters, the staff and some apartment residents, many of whom do not have available transportation.”

For Sister Eileen Corrigan, HM, the Villa Maria practice has been a “God send.” Sister Eileen was drawn to the Sisters of the Humility of Mary after being taught by them in school. While she was very interested in sports, the Sisters saw more than just an athlete. As they took an interest in her, she did to them as well.

“I could see what the nuns did for the community, and they took an interest in me,” Sister Eileen shares.  “They were so human and so warm. I fell in love with them.”

She continues, “I know I picked the right community and the right people to be a part of. We’re very blessed with all the people around us. Our health care is just excellent. Dr. Kravec is very thorough and easy to talk to. I find her to be an excellent doctor, as is her staff. It’s so convenient to have her down the hall from where we live. She’s open to us popping in and asking questions, and so is the rest of the team, which is so nice.” 

Sister Margaret adds, “I’m so glad to have found Dr. Kravec. Even when she’s walking around, she sees you, knows you and greets you. We’re never a bother and she always asks us what more she can do. She has a gracious approach to caring for her patients.”

Dr. Cindy Kravec is board-certified in internal medicine and is the physician at the Villa Maria. At the time of the practice’s opening, Dr. Kravec reflected on what it means to bring this level of care to these Sisters.

“Opening this practice at Villa Maria helps keep our ministry’s connection to the Sisters. As we’ve gone through various iterations of what is now our ministry, it can be easy to lose sight of where we came from, and this is one way to keep us connected to our history and the women who made this ministry possible.”

Dr. Kravec adds, “this year has been a great blessing. Danielle O’Donnell, LPN, has also been very instrumental in helping care for the Sisters. We work together to care for our patients at Villa Maria. For me, it’s just an honor to take care of them. When I look at these women, they continue to give back and serve well beyond what most do. Even those who are retired never truly stop serving and working for others. Each one of them is unique and special in their own way. They’re such an example to me and the wider community.”

This practice has been strategically developed to accommodate any needs the Sisters have, now and into the future.

Read more stories celebrating our team members during Women’s History Month.

Also, learn more about the primary care services we offer at Mercy Health.

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