.- A community of cloistered nuns and a future regional seminary plan to occupy newly purchased property in Cleveland County, N.C., to serve a flourishing Catholic population.
The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Te Deum Foundation will acquire 484 acres valued at $2.9 million in Mooresboro, which is about 60 miles west of Charlotte.
“Most seminaries only teach how to close parishes, cluster parishes, and how to administer to several parishes in light of dwindling numbers of Catholics,” the foundation said on their website. “Praise be to God that this is not a problem in the South!”
The planned seminary, for which 151 acres have been set aside, will be the only one in Georgia, Florida and North and South Carolina, the Catholic News Herald reported. Seminarians from the Diocese of Charlotte currently attend seminaries in Maryland, Ohio and Rome.
The Te Deum Foundation website said that seminarians in Southern dioceses would be “blessed” to be able to stay in their own region. In addition to the necessary academics and formation, they could learn how to approach “the everyday challenges of living in the 'Bible Belt'” as well as how to open parishes and build churches.
The Catholic population in the region is said to be rapidly increasing, as the Diocese of Charlotte expects to reach 120,000 by 2030 – twice its current population.
For their part, the Poor Clares plan to build a permanent monastery for their community, which has lived in a temporary monastery in Charlotte since moving from Ohio in 2010. They noted that the first thing that will be built in the 333 acres allotted to them is a chapel.
“We figured if we put the Lord first, do His building first, He will provide for ours,” Mother Dolores Marie, abbess of St. Joseph Monastery, told the Catholic News Herald.
The order plan for a cloister of 40,000 square feet, including interior courtyard space, areas for recreation and prayer, an infirmary and a cemetery.
The Te Deum Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates separately from the Diocese of Charlotte to support seminarians in their education.
Corrected at 10:34 a.m. MST: Article incorrectly stated that the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Te Deum Foundation purchased the 484 acres at $2.9 million. Instead, the two acquired the land valued at $2.9 million.