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St. Vincent’s Academy Dedicates Newly Renovated Historic Convent Space for Student and School Use

By Katharine Rose

Posted On Tuesday Dec 7, 2021 · 10:56 am

St. Vincent’s Academy, the oldest continuously operating Mercy school in the world, held a dedication ceremony on Saturday, December 4, to bless their newly renovated convent space that will be used by students.

The more than $3 million renovation project began a year and a half ago and has added an additional 11,000+ square feet to the school, allowing for 6 additional classrooms, assembly space, a board room, a museum room, offices and small meeting spaces.

“When we began this journey of restoration and renovation in July 2020, our commitment to the Sisters of Mercy was to maximize the use of this space for our students in order to continue our legacy of mercy into the future,” said Mary Anne Hogan, President of St. Vincent’s Academy, during the dedication. “We like to believe, here at St. Vincent’s, that we change the world one girl at a time.”

Established in 1845 by the Sisters of Mercy, the building has been home to generations of Sisters who served both the adjoining school and throughout the community.

“The Sisters of Mercy who lived here, selflessly and with great strength, sheltered orphans, nursed civil war soldiers, educated slaves, started St. Joseph’s hospital, and taught children of every race, religion and socioeconomic background,” said Hogan. “If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of women of strength and character who have led us to this very moment.”

The last of the resident Sisters moved from the building in 2017, leaving additional space available and ready for student and school use. At that time, the Sisters asked that the space be used for students of St. Vincent's Academy.

The newly renovated space features original floors, hardware and windows, and includes a beautiful stained glass window of Mary, transplanted from the Chapel.

“As young women attending a mercy institution, we are guided by the mercy charism and mercy core values,” said one student during the dedication. “The students at St. Vincent’s also dedicate ourselves in these halls to: a voice for dignity and respect; to be compelled by mercy; to practice educational courage; to be inspired by faith; to practice principled leadership.”

Bishop Stephen D. Parkes blessed the new space, praying: “Today, we ask God’s blessings on this center of seeking, learning and teaching what is true. We ask that those entrusted with the education of children and young people in this institution may teach their students how to join the discoveries of human wisdom to the truth of the gospel, that they will be able to keep true faith and live up to it in their lives.”

The cost of the construction project was funded collectively through donations from generous alumnae, businesses, organizations and other donors throughout the region, who provided the necessary funds to cover the project costs. The school partnered with Lominack, Kolman and Smith for architecture, and The Pinyan Company for its construction.

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