When our founders came to Chicago, they lived in what was the former convent of Immaculate Conception parish. Bit by bit over the years, the community has been able to acquire all of the former property of the parish, including the former grade school and rectory. We have also purchased two adjoining properties, giving us enough space to build a proper cloister.
We believe that our first priority must be the restoration of God’s house, the beautiful monastery church. When the church was closed, everything of value, besides the windows, was removed. So we had no organ, no choir, no altar or tabernacle, very few vestments, no liturgical books and a building whose floors and walls had suffered damage in the months that it was closed. Since our arrival in 1991, we have, through the generosity of many benefactors, had a new altar constructed, new statues and icons commissioned, new liturgical books completed, and we have outfitted the sacristy with proper vessels and vestments. The final three major projects in the church include the building of a new choir (we are running out of room in the current choir, a hand-me-down from a closed house of Franciscan sisters), the shoring up of our precious windows, and a proper painting of the interior.
We currently have room for about fourteen monks, with ten men now living within the cloister. Soon, we will need to take seriously the need to begin constructing a real monastic cloister that has not only sufficient room for growth in numbers, but also provides the necessary spaces for the needs of a well-functioning monastery: offices, a Chapter room, music practice spaces, a library and scriptorium, and improved guest spaces.
This will require us to raise more money that we have in the past. We are confident in God’s help, and we invite all who visit our website to assist us in this work. It is possible to make a donation to help with the restoration of the church. It is also possible to help by introducing new friends to the monastery, assisting us in helping to bring more attention to the monastery’s work, or in other indirect ways. Thank you for whatever help that you can offer us!