Demolition Begins On Historic Broken Arrow Convent

Thursday, July 16th 2015, 6:28 pm
By: News On 6

A Broken Arrow landmark for more than 50 years is now in the process of being demolished.

St. John owns the old Our Lady of Sorrows Convent in Broken Arrow which said it’s unsuitable for occupancy and does not meet Broken Arrow’s building code.

Demolition is now underway on the building, and for those who have spent a lot of time there, like Peggy Donnelly, it's a sad day to see it go.

"You could not miss having a sense of awe when you walked into there, it was truly a beautiful, beautiful place," she said.

Our Lady of Sorrows convent in Broken Arrow has sat on the corner of 51st and Lynn Lane for more than 50 years, but its last days are approaching.

Donnelly said she fondly remembers the convent, as do many members of the St. Benedict Catholic Church in Broken Arrow.

"It was just a wonderful experience to begin our life as a parish family," Donnelly said.

The convent served as a place of worship while St. Benedict was built 30 years ago.

The building was sold by the nuns eight years ago, purchased by the St. John Health System and has since sat vacant.

Now, the building - tagged with random graffiti along the inside walls - is a difficult sight for those who hold the place dear to their heart.

"There is something sad about losing that original place because there was a sense of, there was art in there. There was beauty. It was an aesthetic experience to just be in that environment," said Donnelly.

But not all has been lost, Donnelly said pieces have been saved, and there is a bit of the history in different places of worship.

That includes the old Cross, which now sits inside St. Benedict while it waits for its new home on top of their bell tower.

As of right now there are no plans to build on the property just yet.

In a statement, representatives of St. John said:

“Our Lady of Sorrows convent originally housed members of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother as their residential home in Tulsa. Several years ago, many of those Sisters relocated to a related convent in Wisconsin, and the Our Lady of Sorrows convent was closed.

“Unfortunately, the convent currently does not meet Broken Arrow’s building code and is unsuitable for occupancy in its current form. For example, the building does not have modern fire suppression system, and the heating and cooling plant is technologically obsolete and needs to be replaced. The building has also unfortunately been vandalized repeatedly in spite of our efforts to secure it. For these reasons, a decision has been made to demolish the convent and retain the land for possible future use.

“We have preserved appropriate historical and religious artifacts of significance in efforts to maintain the history and legacy of the Our Lady of Sorrows convent. A timeframe for demolition is not available at this time.”