It is truly a shame that the School Sisters of Notre Dame have decided to close their retirement home at St. Mary of the Pines. The religious order will move the retired nuns at Chatawa to another home in Louisiana, and will sell the local property.

The order’s departure will end 149 years of its residence in Pike County. St. Mary’s originally opened as a monastery in 1868 before the SSND located there two years later.

While the news is saddening, especially for those who attended St. Mary’s school at Chatawa before it closed in 1970, it is no surprise. The number of Americans choosing Catholic religious vocations has dropped greatly for several decades, and there simply are far fewer nuns today than there used to be. Consolidations like this are unavoidable.

Hopefully the School Sisters will depart knowing that they made a difference in Chatawa and Southwest Mississippi over the decades, and they will be missed.

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