ST. MARYS - Holy Week looks a little different in St. Marys this year with demolition work taking place on the grounds of the former St. Joseph Monastery in St. Marys.

Construction crews are currently tearing down the former monastery chapel as part of an extensive renovation project to the property being undertaken by St. Mary’s Parish, which took ownership of the property in 2019. The monastery closed in January 2014.

A January 31, 2021 letter sent to parishioners provided details of the project, which includes razing most of the old structures of the former convent.

New renovations which have been made include extending the parking facilities to the west accommodating 54 more parking spaces and adding a two-lane driveway to Maurus Street. A fence has been erected around the grove area which includes the Placid Pond, the Lourdes Grotto, the sisters cemetery and the roofed shelter.

Built in 1852, St. Joseph’s was the nation’s first Benedictine monastery, home to the Benedictine Sisters of Elk County. The monastery has been a staple in the St. Marys community for 160 years.

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