St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith celebrated the addition of a new facility on Sunday.
A new monastery and chapel at St. Scholastica, which is on the south side of the current monastery at 13 S. Albert Pike Ave., was dedicated and blessed at 10 a.m. Sunday. Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock presided at the dedication and Mass.
The new 30,000-square-foot, single-story monastery will be home for most of the members of St. Scholastica Monastery, according to a news release. The monastery contains a chapel, 26 bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, meeting rooms, offices, a library and a gift shop. The sisters will move into it in November.
Sister Maria DeAngeli, prioress of St. Scholastica Monastery, said the current monastery is six stories high and was built 94 years ago.
"In that time, it was built in 1924, finished in ’29, and there was not the materials to make a building really safe," DeAngeli said. "It was brick on brick is what I can say, and so it was fine as long as we didn't have air conditioning, but once we got air conditioning, the heat and the cold ... and all the peeling, the walls started peeling. All the piping is probably some of the first piping they put in, so it was just that we needed to have a new home."
St. Scholastica Monastery used to have 373 members, DeAngeli said. There are now 34 members, with eight of them being residents at Chapel Ridge Health & Rehab.
DeAngeli said St. Scholastica Monastery does not yet know what will happen to the current monastery once the new one is completed.
After the ceremony, visitors could take tours of the new monastery, as well enjoy refreshments in the dining room of the present monastery.
The new monastery was designed by architect Mark Loibner, the release states. Leo Anhalt, president of SSI Inc., served as the project’s general contractor.