The Servants of Mary make it their personal goal to reach out a helping hand to all people. The convent houses a group of sisters who are willing to do things as small as pray for you and as big as donating bricks to a developing school in the Congo.
Their newest project consists of selling a part of their property on the east side of campus to Sheltering Tree, a nonprofit that builds affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities. Sheltering Tree gives the parents of people with disabilities a place to let their children live independently, but safely.
Five years ago, Sheltering Tree asked the Servants of Mary if they would sell the organization a piece of land by the convent for a new center for young adults with disabilities. The project has been in the works since then, and on Sept. 30, the Servants of Mary sold land to Sheltering Tree.
The property is about two and a half acres and will be right across from the QT on 72nd and Military Avenue. The new center will be built to fit about 20 people and two managers, and although the first idea for the project was to make it for only young women, it will be open to both men and women. The Servants of Mary hosted an open house of sorts for members of Sheltering Tree.
“We see this as an open opportunity for ministry for us. We see that some of our sisters who are not able to get up and go out some places to minister can walk down the hill,” Sister Mary Gehringer said.
Selling the property is just the beginning of their involvement with this non-profit. The opening of this center also gives the Servants of Mary a new way to spread their ministry and continue their mission. The Sisters will be interacting directly with the young adults by coming to Mass or having dinner with them. Marian’s connection with the Servants of Mary also opens many opportunities for students and faculty to be a part of this project.
“I have spoken with Marian administrators and faculty and they are open to the possibility of developing such opportunities for the Marian community. As Sheltering Tree’s programs get settled, we can look into a variety of ways in which both the Servites and Marian can minister with them,” Gehringer said.