Father Robert Schlageter smiles while presenting the new outdoor patio that will allow the friars to connect with nature as Saint Francis might. Photograph by Michelle Chardos.

Friary in Columbus renovated

Originally Appeared in : 9919-9/12/19

Five chimes can be heard coming from the bell tower at St. Anne Church in Columbus each morning at 8:30. The ringing indicates the start of morning prayer for the five Franciscan friars living in community at the church. Last week, their prayers were said for the first time in St. Anne’s brand new Franciscan Martyrs Chapel.


When the friars arrived last summer, they moved into a rectory (now named Franciscan Martyrs Friary) that was divided into two priest apartments and two guest suites. Father Robert Schlageter, pastor of St. Anne Church, said the existing set-up did not work for the residential needs of five Franciscans.


“We pray together, we cook together and we eat together,” he said. “We’re like a family. We needed common, shared spaces.” 


The family of friars gathers together each day for both morning and evening prayer. Father Schlageter says the addition of a chapel in the friary allows the priests to have a sacred space to say these prayers. 


“Bishop Hartmayer has given us permission to reserve the Eucharist in our chapel,” he said. “We are blessed to have Jesus present right down the hall from where we sleep.”


The one-year anniversary of the friars’ arrival in Columbus coincided with the completion of the five-month renovation project of the residence. The building was originally a convent for the Sisters of Mercy in the 1960s and consisted of 17 individual rooms. The space has now been converted into five private suites for the friars and two guest suites for visiting priests. Each suite includes a bedroom, a small office and a private bathroom. 


Multiple structural problems were also addressed during the renovation including some original plumbing and electrical issues. Father Schlageter said funding for the renovation came from a large donation from Our Lady of the Angels Franciscan Province as well as money set aside by St. Anne over many years for repairs of the aging building. 


“We’re grateful to the people of St. Anne Parish who have provided us this beautiful place,” he said. “We are so happy to finally settle in our new home.” 


Michelle Chardos is a freelance writer living in Columbus and a parishioner of St. Anne Church.

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