"Like its name and Mother Teresa herself, this house is truly a gift from Mary, our Blessed Mother," Bevilacqua said.
Residents will be drawn from local hospitals and referrals from other providers of care in Delaware County. The county, with 266 reported cases of AIDS, has the third highest number of reported cases in the state.
The center will accept its first patients "as soon as the remaining paperwork is completed," an Archdiocese spokeswoman said.
Four religious sisters from the Missionaries of Charity will staff the house, and are seeking volunteers to aid in the work. The Missionaries of Charity also operate homes for people infected with the HIV virus in New York, Washington, San Francisco and Denver. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia contributed about $200,000 to aid in renovations for the Chester facility.
The center will be the second for people with AIDS to open in the area this month.
After a three-year struggle with neighborhood opponents, Betak in Mount Airy is expecting its first patient today.. The facility will house men and women, and has some rooms large enough to accommodate mothers with their children.
"We are thrilled to finally open," said Daun Barrett, administrator of Betak, which will be operated by the Lutheran Home at Germantown.
"We have a list of patients who want to come in, and our social worker is now updating that list," she said.
Patients for Betak, at McCallum Street and Mount Airy Avenue, will be coming in from hospitals and from their homes, she said. The facility is still seeking applicants and can accept patients with Medicare or Medical Assistance as well as those with private insurance.