Congregation Announces Plans for Cleveland Property

Artist’s rendering.


The Congregation of St. Joseph is pleased to announce that ground will be broken on a new home for our sisters in Cleveland and the River’s Edge Spirituality Center on its existing property on Rocky River Drive later this year. After a period of exploration, it became clear that the sisters’ existing motherhouse could not be renovated to accommodate our future housing needs. “With the building of a new motherhouse for our Cleveland sisters and River’s Edge, we renew and enhance our commitment to the local community,” said Sister Nancy Conway, CSJ, of the Congregation Leadership Team. “We are very excited for our sisters to live in a building that will support our changing needs and offer the residents of Cleveland and surrounding suburbs a place for reflection and growth at River’s Edge. We are also excited to announce a partnership between the Sisters of St. Joseph and Saint Joseph Academy that will enable the Academy to renovate the existing motherhouse for an adaptive re-use for its students, faculty, and staff.”

Aerial photo of the property from 1930 which shows both the motherhouse at left and the Academy at right. Rocky River Drive which is at the top of the photo was still a dirt road. The Cleveland Metroparks are in the foreground.

For almost 120 years, our sisters and the Academy have anchored the West Park neighborhood. We are proud to have been among the first settlers of this area. Our roots here are deep and healthy. The relationship between the Academy and the sisters is intertwined and impossible to separate. For many years, our sisters lived with students and together shared their lives in the current motherhouse building. Saint Joseph Academy was truly an extension of the sisters’ home and ministry. When the present Academy building was opened in 1928, an architectural reflection of the motherhouse which it faces, the sisters assumed great financial burden and responsibility yet remained determined to answer the educational needs of the times. In 1928, Bishop Joseph Shrembs of Cleveland compared the motherhouse to a power station: “The sisters give back to the world far more than the world gives to them. The motherhouse is a storehouse of power and preparation for a life devoted to Christian charity, Christian education and Christian welfare work.” This latest chapter with adaptive re-use of the motherhouse honors the values that the sisters maintain to this day which are not to be limited by buildings but are committed to many different kinds of ministries to unify the world and address its hungers.

“Partnering with the Academy to adapt the motherhouse for their use will enable students to learn and thrive in a building that holds our history, but not our future,” said Sister Nancy. “We support the Academy’s efforts to look forward as we ourselves start a new chapter on this same property with the hopes that all of us – sisters, Academy students, faculty and staff, employees of the congregation, and staff and affiliates of River’s Edge – will continue to carry forward the values of the Gospel and our mission of unifying love.” Mary Ann Corrigan Davis, President of Saint Joseph Academy, concurs, “This is an exciting time for all of us on this campus and we are eager to bring the energy of our students to this special building. We are grateful to the Sisters of St. Joseph for their generosity and support.”

Plans for the renovation of the motherhouse are set to begin in 2019, after the sisters and River’s Edge have moved to the new building which will be constructed on the northwest portion of the property. Much prayer and discernment have gone into making these decisions about the new building for the sisters and the existing motherhouse. We ask for your continued support and prayer as we roll up our sleeves again and embark on another bold and courageous new chapter for our sisters and the Academy.
This project is one of several happening around the congregation’s geography as we look to the future of our sisters, community, and ministries. Construction is also ongoing at our Nazareth, Mich., LaGrange Park, Ill., and Wichita, Kan. centers.

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