The Sisters of St. John the Divine, an Anglican order of nuns, broke ground Sept. 18 on the location of a new mother house in Toronto . As previously reported in the Journal, the sisters’ current location in north Toronto had over the past 50 years become surrounded by development and had also become too cramped for retreat and conference hosting. ?The demand for our guest ministry has increased dramatically. It says a lot about the stressful lifestyle we live today,? said Sr. Constance Joanna Gefvert, the order’s leader or reverend mother.
The order also plans to begin offering retreat programs to the corporate sector, she said. The new site is next to St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital , where several sisters work, and is in a stable residential/health institution neighbourhood. Construction costs are estimated at $12 million, said Sr. Constance Joanna. The order realized $8 million from the sale to Berkley Developments, which closed on July 31, and received an additional $2 million from a trust fund, she said. They will hold a fundraising campaign for the additional $2 million.
The new building will comprise about 60,000 square feet, including the convent, chapel, guest quarters and conference rooms, compared to 54,000 square feet in the old location, she said. Completion is set for mid-October, 2004.