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Mission Helper Center Looks to Sell

The religious order announced plans on Thursday evening to sell its West Towson property.

As the reassesed their needs in tough economic times, the Towson-based order found something they didn't need—a building.

The order of nuns, founded in Baltimore in 1890, announced plans to sell its Mission Helper Center in West Towson in a news release on Thursday evening.

According to the release, the decision was reached with help of financial experts and the National Religious Retirement Office in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"We really did a thorough review of things and just decided for the sake of our mission we needed to unencumber ourselves of the building," said Sister Elizabeth Langmead, the vice president and treasurer for the Mission Helpers, in an interview.

The 4.5-acre property at 1001 W. Joppa Rd. is zoned residential for two units per acre, according to Baltimore County zoning data. Maryland's online property records are currently unavailable, so it could not immediately be determined what the most recent assessed property value is.

Langmead would not disclose an asking price for the property, but said she expected the process could take two to three years.

The group will relocate to smaller offices somewhere in the Baltimore area.

Langmead said the Mission Helpers have been faced with financial and membership difficulties in recent years that led to the decision.

"We're not unique in what's happening in women's religious communities, but in men's religious communities as well," she said. "We don't have the numbers that we used to."

The sale of the property, Langmead said, will help the group take care of retired sisters and refocus its efforts on helping the poor and asylees in the Baltimore area, and in Venezuela, where the sisters dedicated their third family center in June.

"While we're going to be moving our address, we're still going to be who we are, and that's a thriving community of women," she said.

Community leaders were caught off guard by the announcement Thursday, said County Councilman David Marks. Marks said he was familiar with the work the Mission Helpers did in the community, but was never informed of the plans to sell the property.

"They have a right to develop their property, but usually developments proceed much more smoothly when property owners reach out to the surrounding community and their County Council member," Marks said.

The councilman added that with the organization's two to three year timetable to sell the property, it may turn up in the county's next rezoning process, set to begin in 2016.

JDStuts July 13, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Looks like we found a spot for a new school!
JJ452 July 14, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Good riddence!!!
Susan July 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM
A school is a grwat idea! Call Dr dance
Josephine Hlatki July 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM
JJ452, what a horrible thing to say....gloating on other's hardships. God forgive you. I see you don't have the courage to disclose who you really are in doing it.
JJ452 July 14, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Josephine: Why is it a horrible thing to say? These people are sitting on millions of dollars of "tax free" propoerty, while I "pinch pennies" from month to month. I don't think you realize the financial worth of some of these religious orders. Nobody's gloating on anything, you "reap what you sow". And I don't need anybody to forgive me for what I say. After all, not everybody believes in a "god". And if it makes you feel any better my name is Jim Johnson. Have a nice day!!!
Steve July 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
What did they do with all the money they received from selling the rest of the property to the developers of Blakehurst? Didn't they get their present building as part of the deal?
Steve July 14, 2012 at 03:25 PM
That property has an interesting history. http://www.blakehurstlcs.com/Continuing-Care-Community-Ccrc-Towson-Baltimore-Maryland.html
D Schmid July 14, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Amen, brother!! You hit the nail on the head.
anonymous July 15, 2012 at 05:09 AM
I agree with Josephine, what horrible comments to make about the situation these sisters are facing. Do you even know any of "these people"? I do and have known them for over a decade. The sisters I've known have dedicated their lives to helping people for over 50 years. Can you say the same for yourself? They earn all of their own income and from what I've seen "pinch pennies" to provide food on their table and to keep their center afloat. They have been so generous to my family and opened their doors to us so many times when we needed help, never asking anything in return. The comments made here are so ignorant and really make me disgusted in humanity. Just keep them to yourself! (p.s. we're atheists!)
Josephine Hlatki July 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Dear anonymous, Thank you for standing up for them. They are a wonderful group of nuns, who look past anyone's beliefs. They are here for one reason....to serve those who need help in any way they possibly can. They are not here to judge, like Jim Johnson. Those attacks without any information to back it up are just not nice. Shame on you. I'd like to see someone speak badly about your mother and see what you'd do. These women take on the roll of mothers to the needy.
K Blue July 16, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Or they could sell Greenwood and move the Greenwood operations to this location. Downsize.
Willie July 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Don't judge what you know nothing about. I was a member of this group for a long time and they are not sitting pretty... hence need to sell! Hardship happens on all levels. imagine if you needed to provide care for your grandmother.... and multiply it by 30!
Willie July 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM
They used it to take care of the elderly... your grandmother X 30!
JJ452 July 17, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Dear Anonymous: I've known many of "these" people. I've known many nuns and religious Institutes. And yes again; I've taken care of somebody my entire life; asking no help from others. These religious Institutes that are about to become extinct brought it upon themselves. And no, I don't have to keep anything to myself. Let me educate you...it's called freedom of speech. And if what I say disgusts you...you'll get over it. Jim Johnson
Willie July 19, 2012 at 04:00 PM
JJ.. you are obviously an angry and bitter individual .. I pray that you had more compassion with the "somebody you took care of your entire life!"
Josephine Hlatki July 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I'm a senior now and I've been a caregiver for about 30 years now....2 parents, 1 in-law, my adult disabled child and my child's high school aged child. I'm not looking for credit...just saying that it takes a lot to do the caregiving thing and these nuns who have done this all their adult lives deserve a lot of credit....taking care of those not their own with love and compassion. It's much easier taking care of those you love. I agree with Willie, JJ is bitter about being a caregiver for some reason. If I had to do it over again, I would. God puts us where we are in life for a reason. We need to pray for the Jim Johnsons of the world, who didn't understand the blessings God gave him. Jim, yes use your freedom of speech as we are. Everyone here is expressing their opinions. No need to go into a self defense attack mode. As you said, get over it.
Willie July 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Well said Joseph!
JJ452 July 20, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Why is it that anybody who disagrees with some people are "angry & bitter", for being a caregiver. I was a single parent; I cared all my life for my beloved father, and now caring for my brother who was in a terrible auto accident. "Judge not lest you are to be judged". I'm disapointed, not bitter or angry, as some of you might like to believe. These people entered the "Institute" to be nuns, not necessarily caregivers. The "apostalate' is secondary to the spiritual life of a "religious". This can be a very complex situation; not understood by many. And Josephine, you, yourself seem to be a very pathetic person. You don't know a thing about me. God has given me much to be happy for; much to be grateful for. Your prayers are accepted, but not for what you think I need them for. Oh..and btw I was a social worker fore almost 30 years...I helped thousands of people in more ways than you can imagine. Jim Johnson
Willie July 23, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Dear JJ.... I was one of those nuns for 20 some years. So, i have a little inside scoop... which you only think you have. Did you know that most of these women are some of the most educated people in the country and yet they do not get equal pay... as most women in the US. They got stipends .. not salaries and they continued to get educated with Masters and Doctorate degrees. Everyone thought the Church took care of them. That is simply not true. They did not even pay into medicare until about 30 - 40 years ago. So, they did not have money to sit aside for retirement and care of the sick.. They put all of their resources human and financial (the little they earned) into the Mission... the work of helping others. And .. they did not have to break their arm and pat themselves on the back and say... "I have helped thousands of people." For some religious congregations .. their apostolate.. is their spiritual life. The group of woman on West Joppa Rd. are an apostolic community... who have given their all to the Mission. They did fund raising to supplement their finances and now with the economy the way it is .. people have less to give to charities and worthy causes. These sisters are paying the price now with having to sell their property. But, they have faith and trust and will follow that .. that is part of their spirituality too. It's OK for you to judge " "these" people"... but no one is to judge you for your criticism... and condemnation.
Willie July 23, 2012 at 09:58 PM
And just cause you are a social worker .. does not mean you are a good one... I am in that field too.. and know this for a fact.
Josephine Hlatki July 23, 2012 at 11:28 PM
JJ, this has turned into a competition 4 you...who is the more worthy? So you call me pathetic and then call me judgmental? You are dealing with some emotional issues here and belittling me helps you. You know nothing about me. Being caregiver of the family since 1971, that’s 41 years not 30 doesn't make me more worthy than anyone. Only God knows what is in our hearts and minds. Now, isn't your angry competition just plain childish? JJ, if you read your first posts that I replied to, yes you did sound very bitter for having been forced into the caregiving role (not on the receiving end of help from anyone) then you went onto the attack of these nuns who dedicated themselves to the care of others (in addition to their spiritual roles in life) thinking they are wealthy??? One more tid bit of information for you....I personally know the $$$ is not there in convents. Willie, thank you for that social worker comment. You are right. Jesus Christ is perfect and no one else. We can only strive to be as perfect as HE would like us to be and we never will be perfect but mediocre at best. God knows I’m far from perfect. Attack me all you want now, JJ. I’m out of this conversation. I have more important things to do in my life. Have a field day at my expense if you like since I will no longer defend myself or anyone else. This article is not about us, but the convent closing. Stick to the issue at hand or get out of the conversation.

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