Nuns to hold memorial ceremony for Marian Center

Will close on July 1

The Marian Center for Nonprofits.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi are holding a ceremony to commemorate the Marian Center for Nonprofits in St. Francis on May 28.

The Marian Center for Nonprofits.
The Marian Center for Nonprofits.

The event will be held 10 a.m. at the Marian Center Grotto on the west side of Loretto Hall at 3195 S. Superior St.

“The purpose of the event is to honor the building for everything that it has provided throughout the years,” said Marian Center Executive Director Charlane O’Rourke-Hertig. “We thought, before the building is closed, this would be a great opportunity for anyone who’s affiliated with the Marian Center to have the opportunity to celebrate everything that’s happened there.”

The Marian Center, previously St. Mary’s Academy from 1904 to 1991, has housed dozens of nonprofits over the past 25 years on its two-building campus overlooking Lake Michigan. It will close on July 1 and the sisters are hosting the event for people and organizations who have a history with the center — as a school or office — to “celebrate the life and goodness that took place on the property for more than a century,” wrote Marian Center spokesperson Jean Merry in a statement released Thursday.

“Time has taken its toll on the structure, and it is no longer economically feasible for its continued use in its current condition,” Merry wrote.

Future plans the center’s two century-old buildings have not been released.

“Nothing has been decided at this time,” O’Rourke-Hertig said. “The sisters do have plans they’re dreaming about, but nothing has been determined. The sisters are very detail-oriented and they want to be sure they’re very deliberate in their decisions.”

Tenants at the Marian Center in 2015 included 28 education and social justice organizations, 18 artists and 15 community groups, according to papers filed with the federal government. Organizations were notified the center would be closing in late December.

The center has struggled to keep up with operational expenses in recent years, according to financial information filed with the federal government in 2013 and 2015.

In 2015, the Marian Center pulled in $359,642 in revenue. The vast majority of that money, $344,460, was made from rent charged to its many nonprofit tenants. That year, operational expenses totaled $384,182. In 2013, the center made $376,752 but operational expenses were $395,126.

The cost of utilities alone in the center’s two buildings totaled more than $70,000 in 2013 and 2015.

Tenants listed on the Marian Center’s website in February include: Acacia Theatre Company; Academy Studio for the Performing and Visual Arts; Air Shows of Wisconsin, Inc.; AMVETS Post #60; ArtStart; Center for Deaf-Blind Persons, Inc.; Clare Oasis; Dismas Ministry; The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena; Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin; Honor Our Military, Inc.; Hypnosis Wisconsin; Lakeland Baptist Association, Inc.; The Lalumiere League; Mindfulness Community of Milwaukee; The Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, Inc.; Moving Within; Order of Christ the Healer; People First Wisconsin; Red Oak Writing; Royal Academy of Dance; The St. Mary’s Academy Alumnae Association; SoL/SPA; Spiritual Living Center of Greater Milwaukee; Splinter Group; Universal Anglican Church; Veterans Day Parade of Milwaukee, Inc.; Wisconsin We Care; and Wisdom.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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