A new era: The migration
By Kris Leonhardt
As the Sisters of St. Joseph convent enters a new era, we take a look at the order’s formation and the creation of their facilities, along with their ongoing stewardship in the community.
Continued from previous week
The new Infirmary wing and chapel were dedicated in 1967 and for multiple decades, the convent welcomed aging sisters through the gates to receive care.
In later years, the congregation began getting smaller as fewer sisters came into the fold and order members grew older.
Ballooning healthcare costs and declining number of working sisters made it harder and harder to make ends meet.
Early in 2019, the Sisters of St. Joseph of The Third Order of St. Francis announced that the 28 remaining sisters in Stevens Point would be relocated to Marymount Health Care Systems in Garfield Heights, OH.
A release from the congregation stated that the sisters would be relocated “where they may age in place in the assisted living and skilled nursing care facilities.
“We do not want to lose our connection with one another. We do not want to find ourselves scattered among different care facilities that are geographically distant from each other.
“We have worked diligently for seven years pursuing all avenues in search of a viable plan that would address both the physical and spiritual needs of our sisters. When the offer came to us from Marymount (in February of 2018) we knew that accepting it would allow us the means to accomplish our goal and an opportunity to support our sisters into the future.
“We are aware and sad to leave the people and places where we have served.”
At the time of the announcement over half of the sisters in the nearly 200-strong congregation were over the age of 80.
The sisters began a slow move to their new home in Ohio.
Sister Constance, who was one of the first to move to Ohio, said, “It’s as if I’ve been here my whole life. I had a good flight, I came here, welcomed by a lot of people. This is the place to be, and with my sisters being here, too, I feel like I just touched heaven.”
The congregation had no immediate plans to sell the convent and land, but they were working on a plan to repurpose the 40-acre property in a way it would benefit the Stevens Point community.
“We will continue to work in collaboration with the city and the congregation regarding the future of St. Joseph Motherhouse,” they said in the 2019 release.
Read the final installment in the March 26 edition.