Montreal officially acquires convent at base of Mount Royal
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:12PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 7, 2017 6:45PM EDT
The city of Montreal has officially purchased the resting place of Jeanne Mance, founder of Montreal.
This week Mayor Denis Codere and Mother Superior Sister Marie-Therese Laliberté confirmed the official transfer of property.
They also declared the convent and its gardens will be rebaptized as the Cité des Hospitalieres and turned into a shared space for community initiatives with details yet to be finalized, .
"It's very moving, first of all, to know," said Laliberté.
She said that during several meetings with city officials, the nuns have realized there are many new projects compatible fit with the order's goals that could be housed in the area.
The city is determined to preserve the order's archives, which it considers a historical goldmine.
"We have a responsibility to keep it as part of our heritage, a part of meditation, silence, meeting other people, solidarity, and I think it's in good hands, we're going in that direction," said Plateau Mont Royal Borough Mayor Luc Ferrandez.
At its peak 225 sisters and other members of the religious order lived in the area.
Now roughly 60 remain, all over the age of 65, and they will remain in the convent for the next 25 years, along with having continued access to the 36,000 square metres of gardens and parks.
The buildings themselves have been declared heritage properties and will not be transformed into condominiums
"This building has a soul. This building has a vision. There is a goal attached to it," said Coderre.
Exactly what the sisters were hoping to hear when they agreed to give up a building which traces its roots to the founding of Montreal.