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Sustainability and the Future of the Ministry

Dominican Sisters of Amityville Motherhouse Complex
added to the NY State Register of Historic Sites

amityville steepleAMITYVILLE, NY April 9, 2007 – As part of a larger vision to foster the continuation of mission and be attentive to sustainability, the Motherhouse complex of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville has been listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places. The Motherhouse Complex includes five buildings and two sites – the 130 year old Rosary Hall building, the root cellar or potato house, Seraphina Cottage, the boiler house, St. Dominic's Chapel, the grotto area and the cemetery.

The designation is an outcome of a visioning and planning process of the congregation, Our Life, our Land, Our Legacy, in which the sisters explored answers to questions of sustainability and the future of the motherhouse lands and building.

Diane Morgan, OP, Assistant Prioress said, “The essential question for us is ‘What future uses of the motherhouse lands and buildings will allow the charism to flourish for the sake of the mission?’”  Study recommendations including a plan to renovate Rosary Hall for the immediate assisted living needs of the Sisters. It was also recommended that any renovation be guided by principles of sustainability and environmentally sound construction methods. Sustainable design alternatives are being explored, such as a geothermal heat pump system, LEED certification, recycling of construction waste and other possibilities.

 The designation as a state historic place now moves forward to the National Park Service for consideration on the National Register of Historic Places.

Designation as a state historic place offers possibilities for application for competitive grants for the upkeep of the buildings or for historic tax preservation credits decreasing the construction costs. A distinct advantage of being listed on the State and National Historic Registers is that information about the complex can be placed on the National Park Service website. Information about the life of the Congregation as well as the buildings becomes more accessible to the public.

The planning and study process includes considering adaptive uses of the buildings such as an improved assisted living residence for the sisters and the continuation as a ministry site that preserves and enhances the historic aspects of the buildings. The community is deeply committed to keeping sustainability and “green building” at the
heart of its planning and mission.

Sr. Diane added, that “We are convinced that caring for the earth and serving human needs go hand in hand. We can serve the needs of the larger community, our own members and the earth as one integrated vision.

At hearing for nomination to NYS Register of Historic Sites LEFT: Diane Morgan, OP, Virginia Bartos (NYS Office of Historic Preservation), Committee members – Jane Creighton, OP, Martha Marie Sutton, OP, Margaret Clines, OP), EYP architects Arik Mathison and Mark Thaler.

“We are convinced that caring for the earth and serving human needs go hand in hand."


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Since the time of St Dominic, more than 800 years ago, Dominicans have been living and sharing
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