SHARON, CONNECTICUT

Sharon, Conn1

Situated in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, Sharon, Connecticut is approximately one hundred miles from New York City.  In 1968, the Sisters established a new community in Sharon having a twofold purpose.  Sharon was seen as a place where the sisters could rest, pray, breathe fresh air and enjoy the countryside of Connecticut along with establishing an apostolate in the neighboring area.  The retreat house in Manhattan, at this time, was an extremely busy center offering various opportunities of ministry in retreat, catechesis, altar bread making, and assisting the poor and homeless of the city.  The continuous rumble of heavy traffic, poor air quality, and the constant attention to the ministerial needs of others left little opportunity for the sisters to replenish themselves.

 

Sharon proved to fulfill both objectives.  Many sisters from the 29th Street, New York center spent restful periods of time in Sharon and came away refreshed “body and soul.”  As stated in the historical documents of the Sharon convent, sisters left finding “a new dimension of God’s love in creation, in God’s immensity and in God’s sunsets!”

 

The Sharon property consisted of 27 acres.  It had one brick and cement two story building with 15 bedrooms, 6 other large rooms, baths, etc.; also, a two story wood cottage with 10 rooms and other rooms. Due to a fire prior to purchase the sisters were able to purchase the property at a very reasonable price but interior renovations needed to be done to restore the significant damage caused by the fire.

While the work of restoring was going on in the main house, the sisters lived in the small cottage despite the lack of having full utilities.  Seeing the determination and pluck of the sisters, workmen immediately went to work bringing in needed services.  Despite the fact that it was early May there was still a chill in the air at night. The community consisted of three sisters initially but three other sisters were added later on.

 

Throughout the years the sisters carried on a variety of ministries while living in Sharon.  Children from four neighboring towns received religious instructions.  Many of these children had never met a sister before.  Men and women came for retreats and days of prayer.  Private retreats were given to various individuals and many groups of religious sisters also frequented the retreat center. Liturgical celebrations and ecumenical work were also started.

Sharon, Conn2

 

In spite of the good ministry being done in Sharon it was decided in 1971 that the province of the United States could no longer staff the Sharon retreat center.  Personnel shortage was becoming more and more acute, so all sisters were withdrawn by January 4, 1972.  The property was left unoccupied for four years while looking for a buyer.  At this same time a central province infirmary for the sisters was established in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Sharon property was finally sold in 1976.  

 

Ann Kasparek