A flight from religious persecution in Germany brought three Bavarian Capuchins to Pittsburgh in 1873. The trio had two objectives: serve faithful immigrants and establish the Capuchin Order in the United States. The Order was planted at 36th & Butler Streets.
The Capuchin friars have never left this site. It is our cornerstone.
From this site, more than a thousand men have set out to serve the Church and God’s people by sharing our faith in Jesus Christ through word and deed.
Today the Capuchin Province of St. Augustine is the largest jurisdiction in North America. With thanksgiving to Almighty God, we are humbled by the increasing number of men being called to our way of life. The province is experiencing growth not seen in more than 60 years!
The expansion of St. Augustine Friary, our provincial Motherhouse, was inspired by a rebirth in the province with a flood of new vocations and a fervent desire to adequately care for our senior friars who have offered a lifetime of faithful service.
Years of planning, projecting, and strategizing on the functions of a Motherhouse have evolved into Capuchin Cornerstone, a Motherhouse for the Province of St. Augustine, and a symbolic beacon of our confidence and faith in God.
The new building at 36th & Butler Streets is unlike any other in Lawrenceville, fulfilling a multitude of purposes.
Motherhouse & Assisted Living
The legacy of this place in our Capuchin history is formidable. Since the beginning, this site has been the cornerstone of our fraternity, prayer life and service. The expansion of our Motherhouse suitable to meet the needs of a growing province signals our confidence in God’s providence. It features a spacious chapel, dining room and living room to accommodate fraternal gatherings, family and friends.
Fraternal life is a hallmark of our Capuchin way of life. With preference for our senior and ailing brothers, providing the best assisted living care facility within our community life is essential. The number of friars in need of medical oversight is climbing and will rapidly increase in the coming years. The Motherhouse includes 12 private rooms (Americans With Disabilities Act compliant) for assisted living, indoor and outdoor gathering areas for resident friars, and a nurses’ station.
The Evangelization Center is a focal point of the building, strategically positioned on the extremely busy Butler Street thoroughfare. The space is designed to communicate a core Capuchin value: sharing and spreading our faith in Jesus Christ.
Nested along 37th Street is a Food Pantry. In partnership with Our Lady of the Angels Parish, the pantry will distribute food to the needy. Hyacinth Epp Hall is located above the pantry. The shared use of this space is designed for large gatherings and special events.
Administrative offices for the province have been designed for easy access by staff, friars and vendors. A tech hub will centralize the province’s electronic and digital infrastructure. A small recording studio will enhance communication initiatives. Adequate space for the Provincial Archives will enhance accessibility and protection of historical records.
Capuchin Cornerstone creates a unique opportunity for support and partnership. Persons who embrace our Capuchin vocation, brotherhood, prayer life, charism, and ministry can make a significant impact. The project welcomes gifts made as memorials, tributes or in gratitude to family, friends, or perhaps a Capuchin friar.
Friar Care & Compassion
One of the pinnacle motivations in the development of this Motherhouse was to enable friars in need of medical care or oversight to remain within our fraternal brotherhood for as long as possible. This practice allows friars to preserve our brotherhood including their presence in our common prayer life and other fraternal activities.
The Motherhouse is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Private rooms for assisted living are designed to enhance the care provided by Capuchin friars and medical staff. Gifts made for the Friar Care & Compassion program are designated to support the care for senior and sick friars.
Praise & Proclaim
The new Evangelization Center will be a principle point of the Motherhouse. Our Capuchin charism invites us to share the love of Jesus Christ through word and deed. It is our vocation to praise God and to proclaim His greatness to the faithful, those who have strayed from their Catholic roots, or still others who don’t know the love of God.
We envision the center to be a touchstone for prayer, education and faith-sharing. Imagine the gift of sharing our Catholic faith, reaching out to persons in need, teaching the Gospel, and inviting young people to know and love the Lord!
Intentional care was given to capture legacy elements from the province’s long history including the restoration and installation of stained glass windows, altars, and a tabernacle. Several new statues were placed in the focal point of the building: the Capuchin chapel. A historic marker in the plaza chronicles our Capuchin history and the province’s growth from this cornerstone site. Each of these legacy elements is eligible for Cornerstone Commitment gifts.