A New Sister Act: College Students Move Into a Convent

Melissa Korn:

A group of students at Neumann University here spent an evening last month painting pumpkins, making s’mores and dancing to a DJ’s playlist. Their neighbors—a bunch of sisters, and not the sorority kind—joined in the fun. 

In August, 40 undergraduate men and women moved into the Our Lady of Angels Motherhouse Convent, at the edge of this small campus just outside the city. Forty sisters also reside in the building. 

“Young blood, it’s wonderful!” Sister Bernadette Brazil gushed recently when asked how she felt about the newcomers. 

Campuses around the country have struggled to find enough, and affordable, housing for students. At Neumann, the two groups use different entrances to get to their quarters, so the sisters aren’t in danger of stumbling upon a young man in a towel outside the shower. They don’t share a dining hall for everyday meals, either. 

But sisters and students are now getting in the habit of meeting up for nature walks, trading travel tips, planning knitting lessons, extending occasional dinner invitations and marveling at the lives one another leads.