By Mark Abrams

BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) – The Bensalem motherhouse and historic property established for an order of nuns by Philadelphia’s St. Katharine Drexel is a step closer to being sold and converted to a senior housing community.

The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament have selected Aquinas Realty Partners of Philadelphia to acquire the 44-acre property and all of its buildings and establish a 55-plus residential community there.

Sheila King is a spokesman for the order of nuns founded at the site by Drexel some 125 years ago.

She says no formal monetary offer has been made yet because the company has asked to do on-site studies to determine whether its intended use is a good fit..

“In addition to zoning and other considerations, they need to evaluate each of the existing structures and determine if and how they will remain part of the property for future use,” King says.

King says that process could take up to two years.

In the meantime, she says the sisters have an office for their order on the property. Retired sisters have been transferred to a retirement facility in the Northeast.

The Katharine Drexel Shrine closed at the end of December and the saint’s remains are set to be transferred to the Cathedral Basilica by the Philadelphia Archdiocese sometime in the spring.

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