St. Francis de Sales Parish will see the end of an era when its last two sisters of St. Joseph will leave its convent this summer.
Sister Rita Moriarty, 70, and Sister Eleanor O’Hearn, 79, will move out of the parish’s convent at 300 S. Sherman St. and onto retirement in July.
Their departure will mark the end of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet more than 100-year legacy at the church and school. More than 300 sisters have come to St. Francis de Sales school and parish since 1906 to educate students and provide spiritual guidance to families in the community. At its height in the 1950s and 60s, 28 sisters in the order taught 650 grade-schoolers and 750 high-schoolers, earning it the reputation of one of the best high schools in the city before it closed in 1973.
Longtime parishioner Alice Studer, 71, said the parish’s families are appreciative of the sisters’ dedication to the community.
“Their unselfish dedication to the Church and their fellow man for all these years has produced many great minds and influential people and, most of all, many vocations for our Church,” Studer said.
Sister O’Hearn retired two years ago when Sister Mary Rose Lieb, O.S.F., succeeded her as principal of the grade school. She will move out of the convent with Sister Moriarty, who will retire as pastoral associate at the parish July 1, into an apartment at Heather Gardens.
“I look forward to moving to Heather Gardens because I think it’ll be a whole new ministry,” Sister O’Hearn said.
Sister Moriarty said she, too, is excited about entering the next phase of her life.
“I spent 38 years here,” Sister Moriarty said. “There’s been a lot of births, marriages, confirmations and death. You’re part of a community. I know I will miss that. But nothing lasts forever.”
The parish staff relocated to the first floor of the convent and the sisters lived on the second floor.
Once the sisters move into their apartment, Father Kenneth Liuzzi said the parish will consider options on how to use the convent.
“We’re exploring opportunities to see what direction we want to go,” he said. “I think when we keep growing the need will become apparent.”
Celebrate the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet
When: 10:30 a.m. Mass June 22
What: Mass followed by a reception in the gym
Where: St. Francis de Sales Church, 300 S. Sherman St., Denver
Info: call 303-744-7211