Wall Street Journal: Students, Nuns Share Convent at Neumann University

An aerial view of the Our Lady of Angels Convent at Neumann University.
Image via Neumann University.
The exterior of the Our Lady of Angels Convent at Neumann, home to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

Campuses around the country have struggled to find enough affordable housing for students but Neumann University in Aston, Delaware County, has found a unique solution to the problem.

It has invited the students to share space in the convent with the University’s nuns, the Catholic Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, writes Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.

In August, 40 undergraduate men and women joined 40 sisters at the Our Lady of Angels Motherhouse Convent at the edge of the small campus just outside Philadelphia.

“Young blood, it’s wonderful!” Sister Bernadette Brazil said.

The two groups use different entrances and eat separately, but find opportunities to mingle, through nature walks, occasional meals, knitting lessons, and even trading travel tips.

Combining the two groups is practical since the university is already hosting 700 of its 2,200 students on campus. It plans to increase on-campus living in the next few years, using more of the convent.

In the 1970s there were about 1,600 sisters in the Order of St. Francis of Philadelphia. Today, there are 350, with a median age of 82.

“We do not need that building going forward,” said Sister Kathy Dougherty, vice president for mission and ministry at Neumann.

Read more about this unique solution to Neumann student housing at The Wall Street Journal.


CBS Evening News also took a look at this unusual student housing arrangement.

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