Public Statement Regarding Nazareth Campus in Kalamazoo

May 13th 2019

The Sisters of St. Joseph have been a part of and have served the Kalamazoo community for over 125 years. We dearly love this community, its people and our life and ministry here.

In order to continue our presence in and service to our dear neighbors in Kalamazoo and beyond, we have been challenged to make difficult decisions regarding our property and structures on our Nazareth campus. We understand some members of the community have strong feelings about our buildings and our campus. No one loves our campus more than we do as this has been our beloved home, ministerial center and place of worship for these many years. At the same time, we are firm in our conviction that the decisions we have made will best allow us to continue serving the needs of both our sisters and the people of Kalamazoo in meaningful ways. This remains our primary mission.

It is important to us that the community know that these decisions were not made hastily or easily. For five years, we searched for and have worked with every person and organization that has approached us who could possibly make use of our buildings in ways that align with our values and mission. Yet, no realistic offer was made to the congregation, and no viable partner was found. As this hard reality became clear, we chose as we always have, people over material things. We will no longer use our resources to maintain mostly empty buildings at the cost of being able to provide critical services and support to the most vulnerable and needy among us.

To this end, we have obtained all necessary permissions to manage our private property in Kalamazoo as we choose. We ask our neighbors and the community to respect our decisions, privacy and need for peace as we adjust to these changes. While we acknowledge the right of every citizen to voice their opinion and share their views, for the health and safety of our sisters, employees and all who on our campus, we cannot allow demonstrations or rallies whether in support or protest on our property. We trust our neighbors will respect this decision.

Our commitment to the people of Kalamazoo and their needs remains strong and is one of our primary concerns. We look forward to continuing our work and ministry here while also adapting to the changing needs of our sisters and the world.

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