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Archbishop Rodi blesses Visitation Monastery’s new elevator

Submitted by Lee Eilers
For The Catholic Week
A project that has been about 10 years in the making truly came to fruition on Jan. 26 as Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi blessed the Visitation Monastery’s new elevator.
The project was sparked by a comment from the late Deacon Sam Shippen to Deborah Farmer when she was Rectora of Women’s Weekend #103 in October 2008. The elevator was causing problems and Deacon Sam told Deborah that “she needed to do something about the elevator.”
Farmer formed a committee with the purpose of not only having a new elevator installed, but also look at other projects that were needed in the Retreat House portion of the monastery. The first meeting was May 27, 2010.
While plans were made for a fund drive for the elevator, several other projects were discussed, planned and completed. The second and third-floor porch floors were replaced with historically correct PVC decking. The conference room was updated with new lighting, sound system and paint. The kitchen floor was replaced.
The fundraising included benefit nights with a drawdown, a golf tournament, an appearance by Immaculee Ilibagiza – survivor of Rwandan genocide – fund drive sponsored by Archangel Radio and grants from various foundations. Donations by friends of the Visitation Monastery provided a large portion of the funds.
The installation of a new elevator in a new location just outside the conference room started in June 2018 and was completed in October. Engineering and Project Management for the elevator was provided by Cowles Murphy Glover & Associates, construction by Vance McCown Construction and architectural guidance by Doug Kearley – historical architect.
“It was a challenging experience, but it really is such a relief,” Farmer said. “And it’s beautiful, It really means a lot to us.”
— The Catholic Week Editor Rob Herbst contributed to this article.

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