Friday, November 18, 2011

Our House

Picture a building four stories high and miles long – seven wings. Four wings in a square with a central courtyard. Branching off the four wings, three more. A Wing through F Wing.
The Facebook Page for "Provincial House Transformation" posts this description:

“St. Joseph’s Provincial House, a 360,000 square foot building, was completed in 1965. The house was originally designed as the chapel and headquarters of the Daughters of Charity. Since then, the chapel has become a minor basilica dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and to where she has been laid to rest, St. Catherine’s Nursing Center leases an area of the house to provide nursing care and rehabilitation to lay people, and the Daughters of Charity elderly and infirmed sisters have moved in from Baltimore to live in the house (St. Vincent’s Care Center for nursing care, and Villa St. Michael for assisted living). In the meantime, the provincial house has remained the headquarters of the Daughters during the entire time.”
Here's a photo from the early '60s, when it was under construction:

At that time, one wing was for the seventy plus novices ( we call novices “seminary sisters”. Another  wing was for the seventy-plus postulants.In another wing were 60 plus retreat rooms for the sisters who came back for retreats in the summer.  In other wings lived the 40 plus semi-retired "Provincial House Sisters" and in another, the 5 sisters who ran the Province. 
To get more of an idea of how the uses of this enormous building have changed, I've drawn a few sketches. If you click on each, you will see the whole sketch, and can read the information.
Here it is in 1965:

Here's how it was in 1978, when I entered:

here it is today:

Here's how it will be in another two years:

I live in one small room on the second floor of "E Wing"  The noise of drills and hammers and asbestos removal and reconstruction is loud in most of the halls and wings.
This is a needed change, but it's still hard to live through.

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