Catholic Health has agreed to purchase the Immaculate Conception Convent at 5229 South Park Ave. in Hamburg from the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph. The agreement provides for the continued residence of the congregation. The sale is expected to close on Dec. 28.
"Following prayerful discernment, our leadership team initiated a process that was anticipated some time ago and will enable our congregation to continue our mission and charism, while providing for the health and well-being of all our Sisters," said Sister Ann Marie Hudzina, FSSJ, general minister.
"With remarkable foresight and intrinsic generosity, these devoted women planned and built a facility that would not only serve their modest needs, but also be perfectly suited for reuse by the community," said Joseph McDonald, president and CEO of Catholic Health.
In addition to serving as a home for the FSSJ, Catholic Health intends to market approximately 40 units within the 40,000 square foot facility as market rate studio apartments for seniors. Meal plans, housekeeping, laundry services and activities will be available to the new tenants. Relatively minor modifications will be made in advance of the apartments going on the market in early 2018.
"The motherhouse is no longer just a home for the sisters; it's now also a resource through which the congregation will be able to continue to live-out its mission and charism. We can no longer go forth into the community, however, the community can now come to us," said Sister Ann Marie.
Completed in 2010, the convent is considerably smaller than the original 1927 motherhouse located across the street on South Park Avenue. The convent reflects the congregation's commitment to "care for all creation" and was constructed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. It is a LEED Platinum Certified facility. "Catholic Health's commitment to environmental stewardship makes them an ideal caretaker of a facility so carefully planned and built to preserve the environment," Sister Ann Marie added.
"The FSSJ have a long and important relationship with Catholic Health as founders of St. Joseph Hospital and contributing significantly to the formation of the Catholic Health System nearly 20 years ago," said Joyce Markiewicz, executive vice president of Catholic Health and president and CEO of Home and Community Based Care. Catholic Health is working with the FSSJ to facilitate the transition of the convent's staff to positions within Catholic Health - many of which will continue to be located within the convent.
Leadership teams from Catholic Health and the FSSJ met with the congregation and convent staff recently to announce the sale of the facility and share preliminary plans for renovations. The administrative offices for the FSSJ will continue to be located within the facility, which will be renamed by the first of the year to reflect the building's enhanced use.