Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nazareth Convent Concordia Kansas

An eight hour road trip for work doesn't often lead to too much time to take side trips, but in this case, this beautiful convent is just off of Highway 81 as you drive through Concordia Kansas, so it was just too tempting. By the time we reached Concordia, the temperature was in the 70's, with bright sunshine and a light breeze. Very refreshing considering our friends and family in Nebraska were suffering through 30's, a north wind, and in some cases rain and snow.
From the sign:

The cornerstone for the Nazareth Convent and academy – the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia - was laid in May 1902. Just 13 months later, the sisters enjoyed their first meal here. In 1907 the Sacred Heart Chapel with its distinctive stained glass rose window was added to the east end. In 1970 the sisters added the Stafford Hall to the south of the main building.

Described by one architectural reviewer as “a colossal achievement of faith and vision” the Motherhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Today it remains the heart of the St. Joseph community and is home to about 45 sisters who live here full time.


From the sign:

We trace our roots to 1650, when a French priest called six women to form a religious community in LePuy, France.

In 1836, six sisters traveled from Lyon, France, to St. Louis, Mo, in what was then frontier territory. The Sisters quickly branched out around the United States and Canada.

In 188, Mother Stanislaus Leary, former superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, N.Y., came to Kansas with a small group of Sisters. They set up a school in Newton and another in Concordia, which became the motherhouse for the new Sisters of St. Joseph Community.

As towns sprang up throughout the frontier, the Sisters of St. Joseph followed, staffing schools, hospitals, orphanages and homes for the elderly.

The congregation enjoyed its greatest period of expansion during the first half of the 20th century as the Sisters reached out across the US.

Then came the 1960s, a period of reassessment ushered in by Vatican II. The challenge to all religious congregations was to return to their original spiritual heritage and to an intense living of the Gospel in the contemporary world.

As the needs of the late 20th century changed, so did the ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In the first decade of the 21st century, the Sisters are drawn to missions of mercy, social justice and human rights, working for change in the world wherever cries for love, help and mercy may beckon.

Today Sisters serve missions in more than 20 cities and towns in Kansas, plus others in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas. The sisters of St. Joseph have also supported a mission in Brazil for more than 40 years.

These truly must be amazing women. Kind of inspiring, isn't it?
There are tours offered Monday through Friday 2-4 pm, and Mass is said at 11am every day except Tuesday. Naturally, we didn't have time for the tour, but I imagine it would be great.

As you can see, there are other sites of interest in Concordia. If you're on a road trip, it just might be worth the detour.
Thanks for stopping by. Coffee this week will be served in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Oklahoma City, OK. Which reminds me, I'd better get to work!

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