Work Underway To Save St. Mary By The Sea
For the past two years we have been reporting on the future of St. Mary by the Sea located in Cape May Point and many people are asking how they can help save St. Mary By The Sea.
St. Mary by the Sea has an amazing history on the island and was built 1889 as Shoreham Hotel of Cape May Point.
In 1898, the Shoreham was sold and became the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People. By 1909 that closed and the church purchased it for a retreat house.
Over the past few months the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia were trying to figure out what to do with the property.
We first reported back in November 2018 that the sisters were considering shutting down the retreat house and ‘returning’ the land back to nature. This would mean that the historic building would be torn down and left as an empty lot.
If you want to read about that click the link below.
In that article they stated that they wouldn’t close it until after the 2021 summer season BUT everything changed when the pandemic hit.
In an press release, they said that the “Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of our 2020 and 2021 retreat programming at Saint Mary by-the-Sea. Therefore, we bring our ministry at Saint Mary’s to a close.”
Now there is great momentum from all around the country on trying to figure out how to save this historic building.
The residents of Cape May Point are banding together and one such local, Marc W, has written a formal letter. Below is his letter.
“First, I want to thank you all of you for your enthusiastic support to explore opportunities for the future of our most iconic structure at the Point. The number of responses after the borough Zoom meeting earlier this month was nothing short of amazing and it’s just a start! My gut feeling is as we move towards warmer weather and the summer season and hopefully further away from pandemic restrictions, will gain even more support as our initiative gains traction and builds momentum.
Right now, I’m in a fact-finding and information-gathering phase; talking to people who are knowledgeable with the many aspects of preserving historic landmarks, who are knowledgeable about past initiatives and may have discussions with the Sisters in the past. The goal right now is to learn what’s been done and what hasn’t; what option looks possible and which are less likely. We want to sit down with the sisters and have an open and frank dialogue so we can understand were both parties stand on the matter in hopes of a win-win for everyone. Before we get there, we have to do our homework and make sure we will be well-informed before we sit down.
There may be other groups or individuals who are interested in a successful resolution to the future of the convent to include the borough Commissioners. While these initiatives may have different approaches with different paths and outcomes, we’re all interested in doing what’s best for all parties. Our goal is to make sure the sisters understand the overwhelming support and love the residents have for preserving the structure, and offer options that meet everyone’s needs so that they can make the best decision possible.
What do I need from you? Share this information with other residents so we can build momentum. Every voice counts! Every suggestion you have is important.”
If you want to help save St. Mary By The Sea, please share this article!!
We toured the outside of the building via drone. Check it out below.