It’s a challenge facing the Catholic Church. There’s a decreasing number of nuns, including at the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) community in Dubuque.
That’s why they’re deciding to open their Mount Carmel campus to seniors in the area.
"As our sisters die, we’re not getting new members and it just seems like using more than our share of the earth if we don’t share this space with others," said BVM President Sister Teri Hadro.
Currently, a little more than 150 BVM Sisters live at Mount Carmel. Decades ago, there was nearly twice that number.
Now they’re just adapting to change.
Developers are planning to build a senior living community which includes 42 assisted living apartments, a skilled nursing unit, also 112 independent living apartments.
They will be open to both women and men.
Other plans include, renovating the Motherhouse into a town center with dining options.
The BVM Sisters already share their beautiful campus with the public. People who live nearby often drive and walk through to see the unforgettable view from the bluff.
"They’re talking about a walking path, so we’ll be enhancing the bluffs, which as far as I’m concerned, is the best thing we can do," Sister Hadro said.
The facility will be in partnership with Presbyterian Homes & Services Inc, based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Construction could begin in the late fall, or early spring. It should take about two years to complete.
The project is estimated to cost about $60 million