Felician Sisters searching for a home to start their new venture arrived in Enfield, CT 90 years ago, . The sisterhood grew from 4 to nearly 400 in Enfield, and have joyfully provided support to the community over the past nine decades. With dwindling numbers of sisters, the campus of 140 dwellings has only 45 currently in use. With discernment, and in an effort to preserve the legacy of the Felician Sisters in Enfield by continuing to serve the community, the sisters have submitted a proposal to turn their campus into affordable housing.
With costs rising globally, affordable housing has become an intergenerational issue. Per the Housing and Housing Needs Assessment published in June 2021, it was determined that there are more than 1,000 fewer rental units available to households earning between $35,000 - $50,000 than are currently needed in Enfield, CT. This underutilized Felician campus can be put to better use. The vision for the new affordable housing complex includes a health & wellness center, community room, community kitchen, retail, chapel preserved for public use, walking paths, playgrounds, and more.
The Enfield Planning and Zoning Commission will vote on the proposed zone change that would allow the Felician Sisters to partner with developers and create a 250-unit multi-generational housing complex. The plan calls for senior and family housing units, with 50-55% age-restricted to those aged 62 and older. There would be 197 one-bedroom units and 54 two-bedroom units, with family rents ranging from $1,000-$1,400 a month.
This project would not exceed the height of existing buildings, and roughly 75% of the property would remain as open space. Additionally, more than half of the existing buildings on the property will be reused to reduce the amount of construction required. Historic buildings on the property (Orrin Thompson mansion, the convent, chapel, Montessori School, St. Felix Center, and St Francis Residence) will be preserved and unchanged, and the Felician Sisters would continue to own the 26-acre property. With a ten-year timeline, feedback from the community and stakeholders is taken into consideration. The public hearing closed in September, and the final vote by the commission will take place in November.
“As Felician Sisters, we adhere to the core values of our organization, which include respect for human dignity, compassion through service, individual and collective transformation and growth, solidarity with people in need, and justice & peace. It is time for transformation.”
- Sr Mary Laureann Alexandrowicz and Sr Anita Marie Taddonio