The Sisters of the Good Shepherd have closed on the sale of their property in Normandy, signaling an end to the sisters’ presence in the north St. Louis County suburb since the late 1800s.
The 10.4-acre property on Natural Bridge Road has been purchased by U.S. Federal Properties, a real estate firm that develops, finances, owns and manages federal government-leased properties. The firm plans to develop the site with a new state-of-the-art USDA facility with around 80 employees.
The sisters’ campus includes administrative offices for the sisters’ Province of Mid-North America, Maria Droste residence and Immaculate Heart convent. In 2018, about two dozen retired sisters moved to Mason Pointe, a senior living community in Town and Country.
The 12-person staff and nine sister residents will remain on campus through January. A search is currently underway for new office space and residence.
“This campus will always be special to the sisters, our province and the international congregation,” province leader Sister Madeleine Munday said in a statement. “We have lived here in community, cared for women, children and our elderly sisters, trained new sisters and welcomed visitors, sharing in our mission and charism to be a reconciling presence of Jesus.”
“Today, our changing reality and evolving future require us to consider what is best for our province and this campus,” Sister Madeleine continued. “Our goal is to be good stewards of the property while benefiting the community that has welcomed us for so long. We are proud to play a part in this exciting new development, and we hope it spurs continued growth in Normandy.”
Anne Lucas Hunt, who often gave land and money to Catholic and other civic organizations, donated property in Normandy to the sisters in 1874 and again in 1878 so the sisters could escape tuberculosis and cholera.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd have had a presence in St. Louis since 1849, originally coming from France. The sisters’ primary ministry here included working with troubled teenage girls, including at the former Convent of the Good Shepherd on Gravois Road in south St. Louis; Maria Droste residence at Normandy; and at Marygrove, a residential facility in Florissant, which is now operated by Catholic Charities of St. Louis.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd are one of just a few religious orders that have both apostolic — those who have an active ministry in the world — and contemplative sisters — who dedicate their lives to a ministry of prayer.
Headquartered in St. Louis, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America sponsors ministries across the United States focusing on social justice and human services for women, children and families, including programs for at-risk youth, women in recovery, immigrants, a women’s learning center, counseling and more. The province is one of 38 provinces and four additional communities in the Global Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd and has a presence in 72 countries.