Presentation Sisters to build new homes in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen

Jan. 16, 2019

The Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, who also have sisters in Sioux Falls, are planning to build new homes in both cities.

In Sioux Falls, the 20-apartment home will be adjacent to the Avera McKennan campus and south of Walsh Family Village.

“We think of it as one community in two locations,” said Sister Mary Thomas, vice president on the Presentation Sisters’ leadership team, who also serves as vice president of mission services at Avera McKennan.

“As the sisters age, it’s better for us to come together. And we are apostolic in nature and want to continue to connect with people in both areas.”

Some sisters in Sioux Falls live in apartments, and others rent homes owned by Avera.

The new 24,000-square-foot home in Sioux Falls will be independent living, with support services brought in as needed.

Sisters who need a greater level of care can transition to Avera Prince of Peace.

The property includes several homes owned by Avera that are being rented. The sisters are working with the tenants to offer them other available homes.

“We’ve talked to the renters, and they’re very supportive,” Thomas said.

In Aberdeen, the 23,000-square-foot Presentation Place will be constructed with 15 apartments adjacent to Avera Mother Joseph Retirement Community in a separate building that is linked to Avera Mother Joseph Manor.

Sisters currently live at Presentation Convent on the Presentation Heights campus, which includes Presentation College.

“This building is an important part of our heritage, yet it was built for over 100 sisters, and we no longer have need for that much space,” said Sister Janice Klein, the order’s president.

“It is costly to run it, and for a better carbon footprint and better stewardship of our resources, it’s time we move. This facilitates our communal life and enhances our mission and the ministry we are doing.”

Both homes will include common spaces such as gathering areas on each floor, a dining room where sisters can periodically share meals, a chapel, fitness room and space for offices, meetings and retreats.

The two-story Sioux Falls home will include an elevator and is being built with extra apartments for guests, sisters traveling for medical care or those who want to retreat to quiet space.

“Part of the reason we’re doing apartments rather than rooms is because we believe in the core value of doing nothing alone, so we’re partnering with Avera, and what Avera needs for space after us would be more apartment use than rooms,” Klein said.

The Presentation Sisters are financing both homes themselves, however.

“We’ve been blessed by sisters who were very financially astute years ago,” said Sister Lucille Welbig, who also is part of the leadership team. “We knew that as we started planning these last few years that through historic financial planning we’re in a good place to do this on our own.”

Construction is scheduled to start this summer and last 10 to 12 months.

The Presentation Sisters were founded in 1886 with Aberdeen being the central location. As time went on, the sisters served in many locations, with clusters in Aberdeen and Sioux Falls.

They are co-sponsors of Avera Health along with the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton.

Their mission is “to joyfully incarnate the compassion and justice of Jesus,” Welbig said. “So our neighbors locally and globally might live with hope.”

To that end, they say they see their new homes as vehicles to help them minister more directly to the community.

“In Aberdeen, we’re close to the campus, so we can have a relationship with the residents and the staff, and in Sioux Falls, we can have a relationship with the people in the neighborhood,” Welbig said. “We’re not closed. We’re apostolic. We want to go out into the neighborhoods and be available to them.”

They can envision neighborhood ice cream socials and opening the home for trick-or-treating, they shared.

“We have wonderful partners throughout the years who have supported us and our mission and our ministry, and we want to continue to be there,” Thomas said. “Sisters never really retire. They simply do a different kind of ministry.”

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Presentation Sisters to build new homes in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen

The Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, who also have sisters in Sioux Falls, are planning to build new homes in both cities.

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