Assisted living proposed for Resurrection convent on Talcott
by BRIAN NADIG
The 41st Ward Advisory Committee at its July 18 meeting will discuss a proposal to convert the Sisters of Resurrection convent near Talcott and Harlem avenues into an assisted living facility for seniors.
The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave. The project requires the site of the convent to be rezoned from RS-2, which is intended primarily for single-family homes, to RT-4.
The Sisters of Resurrection announced last fall that it plans to continue to operate Resurrection Prep High School despite plans to put up for sale 13 acres of adjacent land, including its convent.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s chief of staff Chris Vittorio said that the proposal includes about 40 units, some of which would be available to the Resurrection nuns who are looking for assisted living. He said that the zoning change would not apply to the undeveloped land around the convent and that the developer has no plans to build on that vacant land.
Last year the Sisters of Resurrection released the following statement when the property was put up for sale: "This has been a difficult decision for us because our Sisters have lived on this property for over 100 years. We have many memories connected to the home, especially the chapel where we first professed our vows and where we join daily for prayer."
The statement also included, "Our reason for selling and moving is that there are only 20 Sisters living in this large convent which could easily accommodate 50 or more Sisters. (In addition) our decision to move and sell our convent will not impact the school or our commitment to our students. We Sisters will stay within walking distance of the school as we plan on residing at Resurrection Retirement Community."
While the all-girls high school opened in 1922, its roots can be traced as far back as 1891, when the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection was founded in Rome by a widow, Celine Borzecka, and her daughter Hedwig.
The congregation’s ministry in Chicago began in 1900, when four of its members started a school for 425 students at Saint Mary of the Angels Parish.
The Sisters of the Resurrection arrived on the Northwest Side in 1912 after Sister Anne Strzelecka purchased more than 42 acres of land along Old Tanner Road, which is now Talcott Avenue. A building which housed both a convent and a school was constructed on the property in 1914, and in the following year Resurrection Academy, a boarding school for girls and an elementary school for boys and girls, opened.
Several additions were made to that building during the 1920s, and the original 1914 section was rebuilt in 2003-04. The academy stopped enrolling boys in 1922, and its elementary program was discontinued in 1961 because other grade schools served the area. The boarding school for girls closed in 1954.
The congregation opened Resurrection Medical Center, 7435 W. Talcott Ave., across from the school in the 1950s.
Meanwhile, the high school operated in the convent and school building for 40 years until a larger building was constructed in 1962 at 7500 W. Talcott Ave., which remains the current site of the high school. At one time classes were held in both the old and new school buildings, which were connected by a tunnel.
More than 13,000 students have graduated from the school.