Old folks, destitute and sick, kept in ad hoc shelters not much better then chicken coops – this was the reason why Villa Francis was built. In 1970, the physical conditions and nursing care at the Dragon Lotus and Yee Tee Homes were found to be so deplorable that the Singapore Council of Social Services decided to build a permanent home to house these people. The Council approached the Sisters who ran the Mt.Alvernia Hospital (the Sisters of the Franciscan Missionary of the Divine Motherhood or FMDM) to run the new home. The FMDM sisters agreed as this work coincided with their mission of giving priority to the destitute poor and sick. In earlier times, such people included the Chinese immigrants and the very poor who were left to die in Sago Lane in Chinatown, completely deprived of material or spiritual comforts. With urbanization, the “death houses” of Sago Lane disappeared, but the problem of the aged and sick destitute in a maturing population continued to grow. A three-acre site in Mandai was leased to the Council in 1973 and construction work was completed in 1976. The FMDM sisters managed the home from the start until 2001 when for various reasons they had to re-focus their resources on their work at Mt Alvernia Hospital. The Catholic Welfare Services (Singapore)then took over until July 2006 when the Archbishop of Singapore officially appointed the Canossian Sisters to manage and operate Villa Francis Home under the Catholic Welfare Services Nursing Homes Management Committee. Why the name “Villa Francis”? At the start, the FMDM sisters had wanted to name it “St Francis Home”, but at that time, the Singapore Council of Social Services felt it was not ideal for the Home to be associated with any particular religious group. They then came up with the name “Villa Francis” which suggests a positive and cheerful living environment, where one is well cared for, a community where residents have a sense of belonging and are happy to call it “our home”.