The St. Francis Residence opened in
June 2009. The building has an interesting history. According to the
History of the Felician Sisters of the Enfield Province, Mother Mary
Annunciata Bretschneider, the first provincial minister, focused on
the necessary material foundations for the new province. She and her
council decided that construction of an annex would respond to the
need for a larger provincial house to accommodate the growing
Enfield province. Ground breaking for the three-story annex to the
Orrin Thompson Mansion took place on May 5, 1937.
In less than an year, the building was
completed. It included a chapel, a dining room, and a community room
on the first floor. Private rooms and dormitories were on the second
and third floors; storage rooms and related facilities, the laundry
and boiler rooms were located in the basement.
Building a New Provincial House
Less than 20 years later, when the sisters had outgrown this
facility, Mother Mary Laura Sentkowska undertook the building of a
new provincial house. The groundbreaking ceremonies on May 5, 1954,
took place exactly 17 years after the annex.
By May 1, 1957, the new convent was ready for
dedication. Once the sisters were settled in their new quarters,
work began to transform the building to house Our Lady of the Angels
Aspirancy and Academy which had been located diagonally across from
the provincial house complex, further south on Enfield Street. The
building housed the Academy/Longview Catholic High School until it
closed in June 1988.
As of March 1989, the Felician Sisters leased the building to the
Town of Enfield for use as the Town of Enfield Day Care Center.
After the town relocated the Day Care in August 2004, the sisters
discussed options for the use of the existing facilities which were
vacant and deteriorating rapidly.
2006 Feasibility Study
In December 2006, Sister Mary Laureann Alexandrowicz and her
council agreed to engage F.J. Dahill Construction Co to conduct a
feasibility study to determine possible use of the building for
affordable independent living apartments. The study concluded that
converting the building to apartments was a ‘good and reasonable use
of the property” while serving a community need.
The building’s construction began with demolition during the summer
of 2007. Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects of New Haven, CT designed
While not a LEED (Leadership in Energy
Efficient Design) project, the renovation of the building, as
opposed to new construction, immediately has “green” value as new
natural resources are not required. The renovations included new
roofing and added insulation, and new windows with insulating glass
which mimic the appearance of the original windows while providing
more comfort and energy efficiency. The finishes, such as carpet
with high levels of recycled content, flooring in apartment entries,
and kitchens of cork used throughout, and vinyl composition tile of
recycled material in utilitarian areas add to the sustainable
footprint of the building.
21 Apartments in Enfield Connecticut
The St. Francis Residence has 21 apartments. Each unit has
higher than normal ceilings and the 2nd and 3rd level apartments
have expansive views over the rooftops and over the east lawn. Two
units occupy the former chapel pace and have retained much of the
original moldings, as well as the arched stained glass windows which
give these units special character. The lower level units are more
spacious and capture daylight while being located close to common
Sister Laureann’s hope is that the St. Francis Residence will
achieve its three-fold goal: To help provide income for the support
of our infirm and retired sisters; To provide an option to retired
clergy and religious seeking residence for ministry and ; To provide
a safe, secure environment for independent living for active
persons/couples who are 55+ years old.
55+ Apartments in CT
Sr. Joan Marie
55+ Apartments in CT
Sr. Joan Marie