California convent becomes retirement home

A new retirement community is under construction in California. That’s not news in itself; after all, seniors and Baby Boomers are the fastest-growing age groups across North America.

But what makes the new retirement community, Mercy Auburn Senior Community,  newsworthy, is that it was originally designed as a convent for nuns. Today, with the aging of the Catholic order’s members, the convent is becoming a retirement home.

As reported in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, the retirement complex in Auburn, located northeast of the state capital of Sacramento, is expected to be home to 60 older women.

The convent was founded in the mid-1800s, and was built with the expectation that it would house generations of nuns, but the falling numbers of nuns, coupled with their increasing average age, has created an inevitable situation where the convent was better fit as a retirement community.

“Years ago, there were not options for women other than motherhood or religious life,” Janice Bader of the National Religious Retirement Office told the newspaper. “Mothers were stay-at-home mothers. Women attracted to something of service outside the home didn't have a lot of options.”

While that’s not great news for the Catholic order in Auburn, it’s good news for the area’s seniors, who now have a new California assisted living community.