In the past, the words “intergenerational” and “senior living” typically did not go together. Today, at Milwaukee Catholic Home, where ministry is centered on building community, fostering a sense of purpose and belonging to something bigger than oneself, seniors, retired religious and college students will soon be able to live together in an intergenerational community that is being designed and programmed based on innovative national models and future customer expectations.
The proposed new residential community at Mount Mary University will be home to Milwaukee-area seniors, undergraduate single mothers and their children, and Sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. In a three-way venture among Mount Mary University, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Milwaukee Catholic Home, Milwaukee Catholic Home will operate and manage the new senior living community honoring its Catholic values and service philosophy of A Life Engaged.®️
“Our Life Engaged philosophy means that we serve seniors by empowering them to live a full life,” said David Fulcher, CEO of Milwaukee Catholic Home. “We believe a full life happens in community, where a sense of purpose and belonging to something bigger than self gives meaning and creates opportunities for health, wellness, learning, joy and hope.
“We are beyond pleased to participate in this first-of-its-kind venture in Milwaukee,” he added. “Living intergenerationally – Sisters, seniors, young single moms and their children in the same community– offers so much promise for all residents. Embedding our philosophy of service, A Life Engaged, at this new community excites and energizes us!
The Mount Mary University project was publicly announced in mid-December of 2019. Following approvals by the City of Milwaukee groundbreaking is anticipated in July of 2020. The newly formed nonprofit corporation will be financed in part by the three partners in the venture, Milwaukee Catholic Home, Mount Mary University and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, as well as through fundraising and tax-exempt bond financing. Projected costs for the development are ~$40 million with a tentative timeline calling for an opening in late September of 2021. PRA (Plunkett Raysich Architects) of Milwaukee has been engaged as the project’s architectural firm, and Senior Housing Partners of Minneapolis has been named the owner’s representative.
The new community will be comprised of 52 private residences designed to accommodate the needs of the retired Sisters as they age. 90 independent living residences for seniors will have full access to the new communities’ amenities including supportive living services as their individual health needs change. 24 small apartment residences for Mount Mary University undergraduate single mothers and their children will be included in the new development. Early childhood development or child day care for up to 100 children and toddlers will be located on the ground floor enabling a separate and secured access point directly adjacent to the university campus.
The buildings will be fully interconnected by a Town Center that incorporates numerous spaces to bring people together in friendly conversation, dining, prayer, learning and socialization. The social gathering lounges and indoor/ outdoor spaces will take advantage of the natural wooded environment, views of the Menomonee River Parkway, the University bell tower and expansive green spaces. There will be multiple dining experiences to meet today’s customer expectations, including a pub for people to come together prior to a meal or just to relax.
In addition to the Town Center, the community will include a wellness center that provides residents with the opportunity to focus on their own individual wellness journey using the Five Pillars of Wellness as its framework. These pillars are: Social Engagement, Cognitive Health, Physical Health, Spiritual Wellness and Nutrition. The center will offer primary care physician access, onsite private therapy and massage services, beautician, manicure and pedicure services, cardio vascular and strengthening equipment and inviting spaces for group exercise and mindfulness experiences. In addition to the onsite spaces, MCH will provide organic produce for the community through its organic farm located in Burlington WI, a true farm to table experience.
Together, the partners have researched and explored other institutions of higher learning that have launched similar projects, as well as toured other senior housing facilities in Milwaukee and the Midwest to learn about current trends in senior living. Milwaukee Catholic Home brings its deep expertise and stability to the table for the benefit of the new project.
“We have been honored to provide care for the Sisters in Elm Grove,” said Fulcher. “This more formal partnership at Mount Mary University will expand and honor the legacy and charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame through expanded ministry in intergenerational programming, educational experiences, land use stewardship and service to the retired sisters of the Central Pacific Province. We are honored to be part of a process that truly leverages our collective ministries to enhance the experiences of retired sisters, elders and young women and their children being served by this new intergenerational community.
“It is an energizing opportunity for us,” he added. “It’s innovative and promising for so many reasons. We are honored to partner with Mount Mary University and the School Sisters of Notre Dame in such a hope-filled project that will bless so many people.”
As the project advances, Milwaukee Catholic Home will share milestones and information, and especially the excitement around this new opportunity.