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Halyard Park Monastery and new Parish Center near completion

The old parish was built in 1869 in stages and is now being renovated to house Capuchin friars.
Posted at 1:35 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 14:35:44-04

MILWAUKEE — St. Francis of Assisi Parish and the Capuchin Franciscan of St. Joseph broke ground on a historic Halyard Park Monastery and new parish center in June.

The old parish was built in 1869 in stages and is now being renovated to house Capuchin friars.

However, the upgrades aren't losing the rich history within the building.

Provincial Minister brother Mark Joseph Costello said the need for more space and accessibility was so crucial there were talks about a brand new building, but ultimately a complete renovation of the monastery was the best choice to provide a community for the friars.

The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph is a religious community of friars inspired by St Francis of Assisi. They live and work with those who struggle with challenging circumstances.

"The purpose of that community life is to keep us healthy so we can minster and we can do things out in the community," Costello stated. "In recent years we've really needed to increase the number of bedrooms we have, the number of rooms we have to take care of our friars."

When complete the St. Francis Friary will feature:

  • Nine accessible friar bedrooms
  • Two bedrooms with a nurse's area
  • Eight additional friar-bedrooms
  • Nine restored guest rooms
  • Dining room, library and meeting rooms
  • Office area
  • Renovated interior courtyard
  • New windows
  • Screened in-porch
  • New elevators and staircase
  • Kitchen storage area
  • 10 parking spaces

Costello said it's now a safe building and they're building for the next 100 years.

In addition to the historic building is a 16,200 sq foot parish center where friars will gather and meet with guests.

"It's really meant to be a place where we can be of service to communities," Costello said.

C.D Smith construction removed lead paint, and added elevators so the building could become more accessible. To keep the history alive, C.D Smith reused the cream city brick from the former St. Francis Chapel to create the parish center.

Costello said bringing the friars under one roof strengthens their brotherhood. Up to 24 Capuchin Friars will be housed in the newly renovated 38,000 sq. ft Monastery.

Costello said friars will begin moving-in starting November. He believes the majority of the renovation will be complete.

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