By: Melissa Solano
Of all the housing on Franciscan University of Steubenville’s campus, there is one that stands apart from all the rest, though it is relatively un-heard-of.
“The Annunciation House is located in Assisi Heights and is a place for religious sisters to be able to live together in community with other religious sisters who are studying for their degree here at Franciscan,” said Sister Jean Marie Ledsome, one of the sisters currently living in the house.
Sister Maria Walsh, who taught at the university for several years, founded the house. The house was originally located on the grounds of St. Pius X Church in Steubenville. Being located off-campus, it was difficult for the sisters without transportation to be able to get to their classes each day.
When the opportunity opened in Assisi Heights, through the generosity of the TOR friars and in collaboration with the TOR sisters and Kevin Kacvinski, the 2011-2012 director of Missions of Peace, they were extremely eager to take advantage of the opportunity.
“The existence of Annunciation House makes it possible for sisters from all over the world to be able to afford to come and study for their degree at Franciscan University,” said Ledsome.
Having the house on campus allows the sisters more freedom, in addition to better access to classes. They can also regularly attend one of the many daily masses in Christ the King Chapel, study in the library, or visit any of the other great resources on campus.
Walsh, the foundress of the house, returned to her community several years ago due to illness. She passed away this past year in July. After her return to her community, the Annunciation House has since moved to campus and its focus is to provide religious sisters the opportunity to live together in community and study.
The main goal of the house is to allow the sisters staying there to live together in community. They are able to pray and live a community lifestyle with one another.
The Annunciation House is extremely diverse.
“We have had sisters study here from Cameroon, Poland, Nigeria, Canada to name a few places,” said Ledsome.
Along with Ledsome there are three other sisters currently living in the Annunciation House: Sisters Genevieve Epie, Maria Faustina Collette and Emma Lee.
Sisters Bernadette Honny, Jadweiga Drapala and Maria Chinweze recently graduated.