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Senior Housing Complex Opens in Former Monastery

By Heather Cherone | January 26, 2015 5:27am
  Once the headquarters for the Passionist Brothers, the monastery is now 84 apartments for seniors.
Monastery Becomes Senior Housing
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NORWOOD PARK — A monastery that was once the Midwest headquarters for the Passionist Brothers religious order has been transformed into a senior housing complex.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 105-year-old monastery at 5700 N. Harlem Ave. was preserved, and an addition behind the ornate brick building allowed 84 apartments to be built as part of the $23.9 million project.

Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) said she was pleased that the project, which opened late last week, preserved a "magnificent building" while giving seniors more options in Norwood Park.

In addition to state grants and historic preservation tax credits, the city loaned the project $3.4 million from its affordable housing funds.

All but four of the apartments will be set aside for seniors 62 and older making 60 percent or less of the area's median income, or about $37,900. Thirty of the apartments will be built in the existing monastery with the remainder in the addition.

The Passionist Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious order, are devoted to proclaiming God's love as revealed through Jesus' Passion, the final period in his life, including his visit to Jerusalem and crucifixion.

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, officials said.

During the housing boom, several proposals to tear down the monastery and build single-family homes and townhomes drew fierce opposition from nearby residents.

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