City of Monona will buy San Damiano site

A year after it went up for sale, the city of Monona is buying the historic San Damiano Friary and 10 acres it sits on along Lake Monona.

A year after it went up for sale, the city of Monona is buying the historic San Damiano Friary and 10 acres it sits on along Lake Monona.

The city and Saint Norbert Abbey of De Pere, Wisconsin, said they have agreed to the sale after seven months of discussion. The agreement was approved by the Monona City Council last week . The Norbertines still need to seek approval from the Vatican in Rome.

“We Norbertines are happy to partner with the city to be able to offer this green space on the east shore of Lake Monona for the benefit of the citizens of Monona. As it had been for us for many years, this oasis can provide people with a peaceful place of rest and recreation,” Abbot Dane Radecki, O. Praem., Abbot of Saint Norbert Abbey, said in a release.

In the fall of 2019, the Norbertines affirmed the decision to place the property up for sale.

The house on the property served as a student house for Norbertine seminarians for many years and Norbertines studying at the University of Wisconsin later lived there.

In recent years, the students of the order chose to study elsewhere, and without students, the Norbertines decided that to invest in renovation of the house served no purpose.

Johanna and Margaret Mahoney deeded the Lake Monona property to the Norbertines in 1929.

The Norbertines sent first-year seminarians there, establishing the house as a Norbertine Novitiate.

In 1958, when the Novitiate moved back to De Pere, it became a Norbertine House of Studies for graduate students.

In 1975, the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph began to use the house for retreats and as a home for their elderly.

During this time the house was called the San Damiano Friary.

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