Novitiate Renovation Progressing Nicely

By Will Shaw

Just before the fourth of July weekend seemed like a good time to re-visit the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, IL and see how the renovation has progressed since March. The house, which sits on over 200 acres, was originally built in 1916 as a summer home for the Levis family, owners of the Illinois Glass Company in nearby Alton. The Oblates acquired it in the late 1940’s for their novitiate.  Several additions and updates have been made over the years, but at long last the time had come for a major overhaul of the building. With the expert direction of Jasmine Engineering, and a formidable crew of carpenters and crafts people, the historic building is being beautifully restored for the formation of new generations of Missionary Oblates.

As you will see below, I’ve tried to provide “before” and “after’ photos placing pictures from my previous two trips to the novitiate over those which were taken on July 1.

The target date for completion of the work is early August, the construction supervisor told me they plan to make it so, the next update should be the finished Novitiate in all its renewed splendor. Move in for the formators is not expected to take place until later in the fall.

Outside is being power-washed prior to painting

An area of the building is totally gutted a few months ago

The gray structure to the left of this photo is where the man was working in the previous photo

A new roof was being applied to the area just to the left of the chapel in March


That new roof is on the left of this updated photo

A new structure outside the living room was in it’s infancy in March

The new addition is really taking shape!

The hallway with rooms for the novices in March

Now it looks like a hall way!

A skeleton of one of the novice rooms in March

One of those rooms today looking toward the hall way. Closet is to the left of the entrance, private bath is to the right.

This area was being prepped for new construction in March

We are told this will be part of the new “Eco-lab.”

This didn’t look like much a few months ago

Now this large, open space is really taking shape

A beautiful kitchen area is just down the hall from the novice rooms

While checking progress on the living room, a circular item over the archway caught my eye.

Apparently one thing hasn’t changed a bit.