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In-depth Study and Discernment of our Community

To our family, friends, oblates, partners, employees, patrons, supporters and alumnae: Over the past several years, we as a Benedictine community, have engaged in an in-depth study and discernment of who we are as a community, where we want to be and what our future might look like. We engaged with the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) and outside consultants to assist us in looking at our life and retirement needs, ministry and legacy considerations, and property concerns. It has been evident to us for some time, and affirmed by our consultants, that our building is too large for the size of our community. Our continued residence at our long-time home as it is, is not sustainable. As we age, it is also increasingly difficult for us to staff, maintain and oversee the operation of our campus. We, like most religious communities today, recognize the need to right-size and modernize our housing. As it is, the monastery building is too large and expensive to maintain. Given the needs of our aging population, making the necessary improvements to our building is cost-prohibitive. We want to assure that our housing is appropriate and safe for us as we age with private bedrooms and bathrooms, with safe access, modern lighting, updated climate control and utility systems and other modern amenities that our nearly 120 year-old home lacks. Our goal is to stay together and live as a Benedictine community for as long as feasible, and we would like to remain in Rogers Park, preferably on our property. Through generous friends and the rental income of the school building, our funding is on track for retirement, but not for building a new facility to match our community size, currently 24 members. Over time our expenditures have more often supported our ministry. Now we also need to tend to the housing of our Sisters, and continued good stewardship necessitates significant changes. With counsel from NRRO and our consultants, we decided that to address our needs we would sell a parcel of land at the north end of our campus to a quality and experienced senior living residential developer who would build, own, and operate, a senior living facility. The building would include 80-100 modern, senior residential units. Our sisters would live there in community. Remaining units would be available to other interested seniors, thus acknowledging the need for senior housing and affordable living units in the Rogers Park area. With our real estate consultants, we have begun the process of assuring that proper zoning and land use classifications are in place to allow for this type of development. Initial meetings with the 49th Ward Alderwoman Maria Hadden and the City of Chicago have been positive. Alderwoman Hadden will schedule a neighborhood meeting (virtual) in June to introduce the proposed development to our neighbors. We look forward to their input. Until now, we have intentionally gone about this work quietly. With the neighborhood meeting, our plans will become more public. We felt it important that you hear about this from us in advance of it becoming public. This will be a lengthy process and will likely take a few years until a building is built and open for residency. We ask and are thankful for your continued prayers and support as we plan our future and will continue to share ongoing developments with you. Gratefully yours,

Sister Judith Murphy, Prioress

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😊Thank you for sharing this impressive plan that considers your community needs as well as that of the surrounding neighborhood. It will be a lot of work . Wishing you all wisdom and strength as the process continues.

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