Historic Tucson monastery sold

Local developer promises to respect its history

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - What will happen to the beautiful monastery on Country Club Road? That's been a question for the year since we learned it was for sale.

Now the Benedictine Sisters have a buyer they can feel blessed about.

The Benedictine Monastery has stood on Country Club Road for almost 80 years---a quiet island for reflection and faith in a rough and raucous world.

As she grew up in Tucson, it has always been a part of Juliana Villano's life.     

After a visit to the monastery, she said, “I grew up here I was raised here.  I've been here for a long time and it's a special place.  It's very spiritual and it has a lot of meaning so it's sad."
Sad because the monastery sisters created here so long ago is closing this Spring.  Sister Joan Ridley leads the monastery.  She says they've spent a year of searching for a suitable buyer.

"We tried to find a religious buyer, canvassed the country, looked at other groups like ourselves, tried to interest them in buying it because we are not able to stay here and maintain this large property."

"The sisters refer to this as a monastery, not a convent because they live a religious life more in keeping with the monastic life of a monk.   When this place closes there will be just nine sisters living here. They will return to the headquarters of their order, what they call the mother house in Missouri where there will be a total of 61 sisters."
But Sister Joan says even if the order could not sell to a religious group it is at peace with the buyer it has found.  It's a Tucson developer named Ross Rulney.  

He has a record of buying and converting historic properties like the Julian-Drew building into business and living space that gives the sisters confidence their home will have a future that respects its past.

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