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Not so fast – FBYC halts purchase of former dorm buildings

By Stephen Floyd

Plans by Father Bernard Youth Center (FBYC) in Mount Angel to purchase the property currently housing St. Joseph’s Shelter have been terminated after negotiations fell through.

While the youth center hoped to finalize terms with owner Catholic Community Services (CCS) in December, parties remained far apart into the new year on sale price and use of the property.

Specifically CCS had required FBYC to take over responsibility for Casa Adele, a migrant housing program also on the property, according to FBYC Executive Director Sister Jeanine Tisot.

Tisot told Our Town Jan. 19 this was not something the youth center could commit to. The FBYC board decided to withdraw its offer “after a lot of conversation and discernment.”

“We are now re-evaluating our needs for dormitory space so we may continue our mission,” said Tisot.

FBYC currently leases limited dorm space at the property at 925 S. Main St. The purchase would have expanded its ability to offer retreats and mentorship programs.

In a statement to Our Town Jan. 22, CCS spokesperson Mona Hayes said both parties “worked hard and in good faith” and CCS wished negotiations had reached a successful conclusion.

“Catholic Community Services has an affinity with the FBYC mission and will continue to look for ways to work together in support of our ministries,” said Hayes.

As of press time the property remained listed for $2.2 million by SVN Commercial Advisors, including eight acres of land, three dorms and three outbuildings.

The listing said it would be “wonderful” for a new owner to continue operating Casa Adele and related service programs. The listing also said rental housing was the “highest and best use for the property” given residential growth projections for Mount Angel.

CCS plans to relocate St. Joseph’s Shelter, a transitional housing program for families in crisis, down the road after finalizing the purchase of the nearby Queen of Angels Monastery in December.

The current site of the shelter was originally a complex of dorms built in the 1960s for Mt. Angel College, which had been founded by the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel.

The college closed in the 1970s and in 1988 the Sisters founded St. Joseph’s Shelter at the site as well as Mission Benedict resource center, which will also relocate to the former monastery. In 2013 the Sisters added Casa Adele, which offers low-cost housing for migrant workers and which is not slated for relocation.

CCS took over operations of these programs in 2017. In 2018 it purchased the former dorm property.

The Sisters entered discussions with CCS in 2023 to sell the monastery as well after the building no longer met their needs.

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