Buildings Purchased from Sisters of the Holy Cross
President Katie Conboy announced that Saint Mary’s College has completed the purchase of three buildings from the Sisters of the Holy Cross: Bertrand Hall, Bertrand Annex, and Lourdes Hall. The papers were signed at a small ceremony on March 10 by President Conboy and Sister Veronique Weidower ’70, CSC, president of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Attending the ceremony were members of the Saint Mary’s College Cabinet and Sisters of the Holy Cross leadership.
“This is such a wonderful win-win moment for Saint Mary’s and the Sisters,” Conboy remarked at the ceremony. “The purchase of the buildings allows us to imagine the next capacious chapter of our history, to think about what we need to do and how we need to grow. In purchasing the buildings, we are also supporting the growth of the Sisters in their global ministries, which they will continue to imagine and expand.”
Terms of the sale were not disclosed by the Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees. The three buildings currently house administrative offices and general administration of the Sisters’ global ministry. According to Conboy, the College has no immediate plans to use the buildings and will lease the occupied space back to the Sisters for the foreseeable future. The buildings will provide Saint Mary’s with flexibility to move forward and expand when the time is right.
“At this moment, we have an ambitious strategic plan, and we know we will need space to accomplish it,” Conboy said. “Our vision for Saint Mary’s continues to look forward, even as we address the current, vital needs of our community.”
At the ceremony, Sister Veronique spoke of the long history of shared spaces between the campuses of the College and the Sisters of the Holy Cross.
“In 1855, the Sisters and the Saint Mary’s Academy moved from Bertrand, Michigan, to this campus dedicated to Mary of the Immaculate Conception. (Throughout this time), we have shared this blessed campus as each entity grew and flourished,” she said. “The three buildings, which the Congregation turns over to the College today, were a special part of this legacy. They housed academic classrooms and dormitories, administrations for the College and Sisters, convents and formation programs. It is a joy to know that going into the future they will house the endeavors of Saint Mary’s College.”
Built in 1862, Bertrand Hall was the second brick building on campus—the first being the Little Chapel of Loretto. Soon after, the Annex was built, and housed music and art studios. Lourdes Hall was later built to house the growing congregation and student body.
“For over 165 years the Sisters have held these buildings in what Sister M. Madeleva (Wolff) describes as the ‘relaxed grasp’—we hold and cherish without grasping, so that we are ready to let go when it is time to take on the new gift,” Sister Veronique said. “Today we let go and hand these buildings over to Saint Mary’s College for them to hold for God’s service.”
In her remarks, President Conboy recounted an archetypal dream she has had about opening a door and finding a room that she didn’t know was there. She said, “Being in this space today, I feel like I've opened that door. I know other people have dreamed these rooms into being. They've imagined futures in them and put them to a variety of uses. We will honor those dreams as we use the buildings in new ways.”