(Re-posted with permission)
Buffalo, New York – November 2, 2020 – D’Youville has purchased the former Holy Angels Church on Buffalo’s West Side, marking the latest variation on the long, rich history the university and former parish have shared since the early 1900s.
“We are thrilled we are able to officially make the former Holy Angels a part of our campus,” says President Lorrie A. Clemo, PhD. “D’Youville’s association with Holy Angels goes back as far as our founding in 1908 and we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the former school and parish for more than 100 years.”
In October 2019, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) announced they planned to close Holy Angels, a parish the order had run since the 1850s, citing staffing and financial concerns. The last Mass was celebrated in July 2020.
D’Youville began making plans to purchase the former church, its rectory, and the detached convent building in late 2019. The university will add 1.6 acres and three buildings totaling 48,000 square feet to its footprint.
In the purchasing agreement, D’Youville stated it would “preserve, honor, and celebrate the legacy of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Holy Angels Church as we transition the property into any future use.” The university is currently exploring the most appropriate use of the buildings for both campus and community purposes, Clemo says.
“Although this purchase comes at a precarious time due to the current COVID-19 crisis, we are confident it is the best decision for D’Youville’s long-term future,” Clemo says. “The church has had an important historical connection to the university and our mission and is a critical investment in strengthening the impact we will have on our students, employees, and community for decades to come.”
Holy Angels was founded in 1851, when Oblates from France answered the call of Buffalo Bishop John Timon to help meet the needs of Buffalo’s Catholic population. A few years later, the Oblates invited the Grey Nuns of the Cross from Ottawa to serve alongside them.
The Grey Nuns founded Holy Angels School in 1857, then D’Youville College in 1908, naming it for their patron, Saint Marguerite d’Youville. It was the first college in Western New York to offer baccalaureate degree programs for women. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Holy Angels parishioners and alumni went on to receive their college degrees from D’Youville.
Holy Angels School closed in 1988 when it merged with several others to form Catholic Academy of West Buffalo. D’Youville purchased the school building in 1999 and transformed it into the Montante Family Library for students.
“We look forward to exploring what this next phase in our long, storied history with Holy Angels will hold,” Clemo says.