SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — Religious sisters from four different congregations have called the Cardinal O’Hara High School campus in Springfield Township home for decades.
The sisters, many of them older, will soon bid farewell to the four convents where they have lived, according to information contained in a prospectus of Cardinal O’Hara High School, which was obtained by CBS3.
According to the documents, the four convents will be refurbished and transformed into housing for international high school students.
Many in the school community were unaware of the sisters’ pending departure.
Some learned about it through the prospectus, otherwise known as an operational master plan, as Cardinal O’Hara searches for a new school president.
The document shows a $6 million investment will be made by the Archdiocese, described as “market-leading” and one designed to grow the school’s international student capacity.
Affected in the transition are Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Saint Joseph, and Sisters of Saint Francis.
The nuns living on campus said they couldn’t comment.
In a lengthy statement, responding to questions from CBS3, a spokesman wrote:
“While all of them are used to some degree by different orders of women religious, all are underutilized in terms of capacity that could be occupied.”
The statement continued:
“While a transitional plan is going to be put in place, I need to be clear that the buildings are not being sold and that no one is moving out of an existing convent residence in the immediate future.”
Franciscan, Saint Joseph and IHM congregations each confirmed discussions with archdiocese were ongoing about the situation.
The Sisters of Mercy did not respond to a request for comment.
Sources tell CBS3, some sisters may be relocated as early as the end of the school year, but in all, the archdiocese says it will be a two to three-year process. A spokesman did not immediately respond to follow-up questions on the transition’s timeline.
As many as 20 sisters call the property home, according to members of the congregations.
It’s unclear what will happen to those who do teach or work at Cardinal O’Hara.
There are four convent buildings sitting on the Cardinal O’Hara High School property. While all of them are used to some degree by different orders of women religious, all are underutilized in terms of capacity that could be occupied. Those buildings were originally constructed on the campus to serve as residences for women religious serving at the school. Over the course of many years, the demographic shifted and very few of the female religious now living in those buildings are serving at Cardinal O’Hara.
While a transitional plan is going to be put in place, I need to be clear that the buildings are not being sold and that no one is moving out of an existing convent residence in the immediate future. The transition will involve the sisters of the religious orders currently housed on campus moving to different facilities in the Archdiocese over the course of 3-4 years in a stepped process. The first move will not take place until sometime in 2018.
The building will be re-purposed as housing for international high school students attending Archdiocesan high schools. We are very grateful for the dedicated service of all female religious in the Archdiocese and are working closely with the superiors of the religious orders currently housing sisters on the O’Hara campus to ensure that adequate housing will be provided as a result of the ling-term transitional plan.”
-Ken Gavin, spokesman