Five years ago, after a study of our demographics and needs, ongoing conversations and prayer, the Sisters of Saint Joseph shared our long-range plan to divest ourselves of Saint Mary by-the-Sea Retreat House, our property located at 101 Lehigh Avenue, Cape May Point, NJ. On September 18, 2021, we honored our 112 years at this holy place in a poignant closing ritual.

The retreat house has provided Sisters, Associates, and laity with opportunities for varied retreat experiences, contributing to the wholeness of lives through a deepened spirituality. We are grateful for over 100 years of fullness in this sacred place and for you, ‘our dear neighbors’ who have supported us in countless ways.

Statement

The Convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Chestnut Hill, and Cape May Point Science Center, Inc. are pleased to announce that they have entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement for Saint Mary by-the-Sea Retreat House in Cape May Point, New Jersey. It is anticipated that closing will occur in early 2022.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph have owned and operated the retreat house since 1909, providing retreats for sisters and laity for more than 100 years. When deciding to divest themselves of this special property, it was their desire and pledge to the community to prevent further development and return this land to nature. When the Sisters were ensured by professional authorities that the site was no longer in imminent danger from the sea, plans were modified. The Sisters knew that those red roofs are iconic and a treasured part of the landscape of Cape May Point and explored options for this property consistent with their pledge. After much discussion and negotiation, the Sisters agreed to sell to the Science Center, an entity devoted to protection of the environment.

Cape May Point Science Center, Inc., a New Jersey nonprofit corporation, has agreed to purchase the property with conditions to respect and honor the Sisters of Saint Joseph’s pledge to the community. They intend to create an environmental center that will focus on education, research and advocacy devoted to the conservation, protection, and preservation of nature. This mission is aligned with the Sisters’ land ethic and their commitment to the ocean, climate and marine life. The agreement calls for the long-term preservation of this iconic building and, if ever destroyed by nature, the site would return to its natural oceanside habitat. Explicit Deed Restrictions safeguarding the ban on any development and possible return to nature will maintain this property in perpetuity for the benefit of the community at large.

Gratefully,
The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia



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