Mission Helpers report little progress in property sale

The Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, whose Mission Helper Center sits on 4.5 acres off West Joppa Road, announced last July that the last of its initial 64 acres in West Towson were slated for sale.

But seven months after that announcement caused a stir among community leaders, the religious order finds itself no closer to a sale than it was during the summer.

“It really has been business as usual,” Sr. Elizabeth Langmead, vice president of the Mission Helpers, said Monday. "We’re continuing to meet our expenses here, to keep the missions going, to keep our care of the sisters going.”

The Mission Helpers were founded in 1890 and was headquartered on Biddle Street downtown, then moved north to Towson in the early 1920s.

When the order announced the sale in a statement last summer, it said the decision was made “after a comprehensive review of its financial situation.”

At the time, officials said caring for the aging sisters was paramount, though it would not take away from the group’s inner-city outreach. The first step, Langmead said, was trying to find a way to serve both the retired sisters and urban populations without leaving the Towson mission center.

"We've had some lengthy deliberations with other religious communities to see if they had any interest, or see if they wanted to share some of the expenses, and at this time, there isn't (interest)," Langmead said.

"It's still likely that we will sell and try to find a smaller home," she said.

Langmead said the order’s attorney is working through some contractual issues before listing the property for sale, and that process is ongoing.

The property is zoned DR-2, a low-density classification that allows for two residential units per acre. Some community leaders, including Councilman David Marks, said the community wanted to be involved in the sale.

Langmead said that once the process was further along, the community would be briefed.

“It’s not at that stage yet,” she said.

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