BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s first convent in nearly 60 years opened over the weekend at St. Francis of Assisi, in Bend. The new building on Tucson Way will be home to the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, from Texas.
St. Francis Catholic School Principal Crystal Mooney says the women will teach religious education classes to pre-school through eighth grade, as well as organize religious activities for students, "They’re also, while they’re here, looking for vocations. That’s a huge part of their mission in Bend, is to create more nuns and more brothers and expand the religious experience in Central Oregon." Sister Ngan Do tells KBND News she is excited about their move to Oregon, "When we received the invitation from Bishop Liam [Cary] and Father Joe [Jose Thomas Mudakodiyil], the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, we are very excited to reach out to the unknown area that we’ve never been before."
Mooney says the project moved fast, thanks to Hayden Homes CEO Dennis Murphy, who reached out as soon as heard the church and school needed help, "[He] informed me he wanted to build it. I went to Father Joe and told him the great news, and Hayden Homes built that convent in under three months
." At Saturday's blessing and grand opening, Murphy said, "When we heard that St. Francis needed a house for their nuns, we were excited to build this convent."
The new facility features six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a chapel, two laundry rooms, kitchen, dining an living areas. For Mooney, it brings St. Francis School back to its humble beginnings, "An order of nuns started this school in 1936."