The Sisters of Saint Joseph have been a tremendous part of our parish since its beginning. They have contributed through teaching in Faith Formation, serving in Parish Social Ministry, participating in other parish ministries, and of course by their prayer and presence. Sadly but necessarily, their presence here will soon come to an end.
Before Christmas Sisters Alice, Ginny, and Rosalie, who now live in our convent told me that they had decided, with the guidance of their community, that it was time for them to move. Our convent building is simply not well suited for a small group to live in, and caring for it is an increasing burden on them. The layout – common areas on the first floor, individual rooms upstairs – is difficult to navigate. As you can imagine, I was saddened – I had told them from the time arrived that so long as I served as pastor here they would be welcome to remain – but I understood that the decision was theirs to make and that they had considered it well.
The sisters have asked me to make this announcement on their behalf; they will be speaking for themselves in a piece in the Bulletin in the next few weeks.
I want to thank all the sisters who, through half a century, have enriched the life of our parish and nurtured the Catholic faith in so many of our parishioners, past and present. May God continue to bless them and guide them in their vocation. And please pray for them, and for those who have served well here and now have entered eternal life.
Thus our parish is faced once again with the issue of making one of our resources – in this case, the convent building – a benefit to our parish’s mission and to our community in a new way. You may remember that eight or so years ago Christa House had to close its doors. It took us almost four years to find a suitable tenant for that building, but now Catholic Health Services, through its Maryhaven division, offers a home and care there for persons with developmental disabilities combined with complex medical needs.
It may also be that the parish itself will develop a use for newly-available space. Just as our day care was begun in a part of the Parish Center that had been cleared for use when South Bay Elementary School burned down and we accommodated the school while it was rebuilt, we may discover that we have the imagination and the resources to turn this space to a new or expanded parish ministry. Any decision will wait on much discussion, prayer, and analysis by parish leaders and appropriate experts, and I will of course keep you informed as appropriate, and I welcome your suggestions and your help.
Until next week, peace.