Norwood Park, Chicago --  A monastery that was once the Midwest headquarters for the Passionist Brothers religious order will be transformed into a senior housing complex with a $3.4 million loan from the city.

The project "will help accommodate our growing senior population, which would like nothing more than to stay in this community they helped build over several generations," O'Connor said. "Younger residents are also excited about the prospect of having their parents live close by in a nice place that provides great amenities."

The monastery was once the headquarters for the order's Holy Cross Province, which includes the Southwest, Midwest and Western United States. The province is now headquartered in Park Ridge and Louisville, Ky.

The size of the religious order has dwindled during recent years, and the monastery is too big for the order, said Robert Gawronski, of Senior Suites Chicago Norwood Park LLC, which is developing the property.

The project is another indication of the end of the era of huge Catholic churches every few blocks on the Northwest Side, said Dan Pogorzelski, president of the Northwest Chicago Historical Society.

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This is great news and a wonderful way for the transformation and reuse of buildings which have outlived their purpose.  As a lover of art and architecture, I do feel dismay at the sight of the many crumbling churches here in Chicago.  Some are abandoned and some have such small, dwindling congregations that they are unable to keep up with the cost of maintenance.  Without a doubt, many of these buildings are stunning works of art and also historical landmarks.  It would be nice in the future to see churches and related buildings being redeveloped into community centers, art galleries, museums, performing arts stages, etc. and community oriented housing. 

Chicago is home to countless beautiful church buildings.

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It would be great to see those creative, elaborate structures converted into something useful and lasting - community center, library, museum, housing.....

To  see a monastery converted into senior housing, that's great.  Thanks for posting.

Years ago on our first trip to England I noticed how many parish churches were being used as Bingo parlors.  I read recently of a chain of upscale bars all over England located in former church properties.  They buy the properties (for pence on the pound, I'm sure), hire outstanding architects to design truly elegant spaces, and offer a spectacular location for lunch, dinner, or drinks.  I'm delighted to see the trend coming to this country.  It makes very obvious that religion is on the decline.

Churches converted to bars and bingo parlors....  Why do I think that's funny?  Next up:  Burlesque?  Casino? 

I would love to move into that church to live just myself . I know some people purchased funeral homes or small churches transform to private residence.  I think it is awesome to live in the old stone church like that.   It has nothing to do with religion but how the structure   stand.

I like the idea of recycling old churches, temples, monasteries, synagogs and rectories into other uses. To tear down buildings with fine stone and wood work is to dishonor those who put their tears, sweat and blood into creating them. These monuments represent respect for fine arts and crafts. 

Chicago lost another beautiful church in July as demolition began on St. James Catholic Church built in 1880.  Preservationists were unable to save it. 

Despite some of the demolitions, other religious properties here in Chicago are in fact being converted to condos and unique living spaces.  

Some very cool examples:

Here's 10 more:

Blessed Buildings: Ten Church Conversions You Can Live In!

Some lovely stone and wood work. Thanks for the story.

Abandoned Churches

here too.

also here.

and here.

I think it would be very cool to renovate an old church and make it into a living space.  Of course, at this time in my life it's a project I can not take on.  The cost might be prohibitive, and there's re-plumbing, re-wiring, heating the open spaces, cooling, etc.

But they might be beautiful when converted into homes.


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