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'The Mount' Becomes Mt. Assisi Place

Posted by Administrator (admin) on Aug 06 2019
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Mount Assisi Convent, the Pittsburgh home of the School Sisters of St. Francis since 1928, has been sold to a group of local investors who plan to repurpose the buildings while also carrying forward the sisters’ Catholic mission of service. Marian Hall Home, a 60-bed personal care home located on the property, will assume new management and a new name, Mt. Assisi Place.

The sale comes amid a time of transition for religious communities around the region. Due to aging membership and fewer sisters in the workforce, upkeep of large motherhouse buildings has become fiscally and physically unmanageable. The median age of the School Sisters of St. Francis is 79.1. The community now has 67 members who serve in Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, Rome and South Africa.

When the sisters put the building on the market in 2017, they did so with their mission in mind. They sought a buyer who would continue their commitment of service to those in need, in this case the elderly. For 106 years and as their mission states, the sisters have ministered to their neighbors according to the needs of the time. The community’s primary ministry was teaching in Catholic schools but has, over the years, evolved to include elder care, retreat ministry, parish outreach and education, and social service.

“Our mission of caring for elderly was the most important thing in this process,” says Sister Marian Sgriccia, provincial vicar and administrator of Marian Hall Home since 2000. “We feel very strongly that the new owners are committed to carrying forward that mission.”

The sisters’ presence will continue to be felt at Mt. Assisi Place, where two sisters will remain on staff as nurses and artifacts of the community’s century-long legacy in the Pittsburgh area will remain on display in the building. Queen of Angels Chapel, built in 1968 as an addition to the convent, will continue to be used for masses. In addition, 14 sisters will remain in personal care at Mt. Assisi Place.

“On a day-to-day basis, our residents won’t see much change,” says Sister Marian. “Life will continue in the way they are used to.”

The same is true of Marian Hall’s nearly 50 employees, Sister says, who will become employees of Mt. Assisi Place. 

The School Sisters of St. Francis came to the United States in 1913 to establish schools for Eastern European immigrants. For 15 years, they lived and served at St. Gabriel Parish and Convent on Pittsburgh’s North Side. As their numbers grew, the sisters purchased the current property along Forest Avenue in Ross Township and erected a three-story motherhouse. A high school building was added in 1938 to house the former Mount Assisi Academy until it closed in 1978. The addition that houses Marian Hall Home and the chapel was added in 1968.

The sisters will retain ownership of a large brick home at the foot of the property, known as San Damiano Convent, while also renting back Little Flower House, a large frame house adjacent to the main convent and included in the property sale. The Provincial Offices will move to rented space nearby in Ross Township.

The sisters continue to operate three sponsored ministries – St. Francis Center for Renewal and the Monocacy Farm Project in Bethlehem, Pa., as well as the Franciscan Resource Center in San Angelo, Texas. The sisters of the United States Province continue to serve in Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, Erie and West Lawn, Pa.; in Somerset, Paterson and Lawrenceville, N.J.; in San Antonio and San Angelo, Texas; in Barberton, South Africa; and in Rome.

To learn more about Mt. Assisi Place, visit


Mount Assisi Convent and the adjacent Marian Hall Home in the Ross Township section of Pittsburgh, Pa., will now be known as Mt. Assisi Place.

Last changed: Aug 06 2019 at 11:03 AM


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