The property, which is prime downtown real estate, could easily have been sold for much more. But Sr. Aurore Larkin, SGM, said it was important for the sisters to sell their property to an organization which they believe is in line with their educational mission and one which would preserve the historical landmark, including the chapel, which was designated a historical site by the provincial government in the 1970s.
“Concordia University’s commitment to accessibility to all ages and backgrounds forms a natural alliance with the Grey Nuns,” the superior general told The Gazette. “It honors the mission of St. Marguerite d’Youville (the foundress) – a woman who opened her arms to all, regardless of gender, race or religious beliefs.”
Concordia intends to convert the 1871 convent into a fine arts complex. The university, whose student population numbers more than 30,000, will only move into the motherhouse over 15 years, beginning in 2007.
The move will take place in stages. Concordia will take over the west wing in 2007, the central section and the chapel in 2011, the north wing in 2018 and the south wing in 2022. The sisters will continue to live in the motherhouse throughout the move.
Most of the congregation’s artifacts have already been moved to the foundation house in Old Montreal. However, the tomb of St. Marguerite d’Youville is still in the motherhouse chapel. A date has not yet been set for the transfer of her remains.
Doing the right thing