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SLCW, Grey Nuns Edition

Posted by Laura / May 30, 2007

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Pouring concrete, Napoleon at Saint Laurent, May 2007

Could a college dorm be any different from a nunnery? They'll be one and the same next year for 200 Concordia students, following the university's purchase of the Maison Mère des Soeurs Grises. The nunnery lies between Guy, Saint Catherine, Saint Mathieu, and Rene Levesque. The western portion of the property will be re-fashioned into a dorm, while the other portions remain the same, continuing to house nuns and sisterly activities until 2011. At that point, Concordia will assume full responsibility of the chapel, which is historically significant and classified as protected. The stages of acquisition are laid out in the first linked article.

The prospect of secular university students sharing living space with nuns seems fraught with challenges, as will be the delicate process of integrating university uses into a chapel space where 276 people are entombed. In the words of Clarence Epstein, Director of Special Projects at Concordia, they will have “to take an inward-looking religious complex and integrate it into Concordia’s outward-looking vision, all the while preserving its character." Surely there will be people sad to see the nuns go. Creative though this reuse of space may be, it also represents another "outward" step into the neighborhood for Concordia, and a de-diversification of the population and uses therein.

If you want to apply to live in the Grey Nun's Residence, click here, and make sure not to lie about your smoking habits or neatness!

Discussion

10 Comments

Christopher DeWolf / May 30, 2007 at 10:48 am
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De-diversification of the population? I'm not sure the nuns add much diversity to the neighbourhood. They don't even leave their compound.
J Mac / May 30, 2007 at 11:30 am
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Chris, I disagree. With the departure of the nuns, there will be a lack of an absence of nuns. That part of town is more unique <em>because</em> of the nuns not adding any uniqueness to it by not actually going out into it. No more nuns will usher in an era of not seeing the nuns -- not because they aren't coming out but because they aren't there. And that is sad.
alanah / May 30, 2007 at 11:35 am
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Diversity is good but not necessarily at every scale. Tons of east asian shops and restaurants are turning up in the area around Concordia, but does that mean that diversity is being lost, or that the area is developing character that distinguishes it from other parts of the city?
laura / May 30, 2007 at 10:24 pm
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Hm, good points all! I was mostly getting at the steady acquisition of land over time by Concordia. Although campus uses are fine and good uses of urban space, there could come a point when that neighborhood becomes ONLY Concordia and loses the nuns and other people and uses that it housed before. This happens all over cities, all the time, of course, and I don't think we can always label it as good or bad.

Alanah, do you think the East Asian (cheap food) shops are there mostly to cater to students, or as part of a distinct cultural movement by neighborhood residents?
golu dolls / March 11, 2019 at 03:19 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 11, 2019 at 03:20 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 11, 2019 at 03:20 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 11, 2019 at 03:21 am
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nice post

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