Bensalem religious facility established by St. Katharine Drexel to be sold

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Mother Katharine Drexel purchased the Bensalem property to build the motherhouse for the religious order she founded in 1891. (Courtesy Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament)

Mother Katharine Drexel purchased the Bensalem property to build the motherhouse for the religious order she founded in 1891. (Courtesy Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament)

The religious order started by St. Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia is selling off its properties and moving the remains of th saint who was canonized in 2000.

The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are putting their 44-acre property in Bensalem on the market.

Sister Donna Breslin, the president of the order said the buildings visible from I-95 are just too big and old, dating back to the late 1800s

“We’re working with a consulting firm that has worked with other religious communities who have faced the same decision during these years,” Breslin said. “They will be working with us to find living facilities for our sisters … we are hoping to remain in the greater Philadelphia area.”

Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo said he was shocked by the religious order’s decision to leave the motherhouse that has been home to the order since 1891.

“In another way, I know they have had problems raising money, and I have participated in many many things over the years to keep it open,” he said.

The facility also houses the national shrine of St. Katharine Drexel.  The order has reached an agreement with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to move it to the cathedral in Center City, Breslin said.

“We were in conversation with Archbishop Chaput as we went forward in our planning and Archbishop Chaput has confirmed that the remains of St. Katharine Drexel will be moved when the time is right,” she said. “Her remains will go to the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, and that is a tremendous blessing.”

The shrine is not expected to move out of Bensalem until the summer of 2017.

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