Some 18 members of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity lived in three small bungalows that served as their convent in San Diego.

Their leader, Sister Ancy, considered expanding the garage, which served as their chapel.

“I didn’t have a plan,” she recalled.

But Terry and Barbara Caster soon came up with one.

Long-time Catholic benefactors, the couple had been close friends with Mother Teresa, founder of the order, since she first visited San Diego in 1991. They traveled with her in their motorhome across California and Baja California, as she established houses.

Over the years, they rehabbed the bungalows to accommodate the arrival of more sisters in San Diego. Terry Caster is the founder of the Caster Group, which builds and manages A-1 Self Storage locations.

By December 2015, it was clear that expanding them, or doing more repairs, were not options.

Coincidentally, the lot next door to the convent on Boston Avenue was for sale.

“Why don’t we buy it and build something?” Sister Ancy recalled Caster asking.

By December, construction finished on a 8,000-square-foot convent, which more than quadrupled the sisters’ living space.

The new convent has a total of 18 sleeping quarters, called hermitages, nine bathrooms and four showers. There are “sick rooms” with wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs next to the chapel. Each has a tiny window that opens so the occupant can participate in Mass without leaving her room.

The sisters can wash their habits in a laundry room; they do not use washing machines. And they can prepare their meals in a kitchen stocked with new appliances and eat in a roomy dining room. They also have an office and a workshop.

The centerpiece of the new convent, however, is a spacious chapel with high-ceiling windows that bathe the interior with sunlight.

On March 6, practically 25 years to the day that the convent first opened, retired Bishop Robert H. Brom will celebrate an anniversary Mass in the new chapel. It’s only fitting. He had celebrated the convent’s first Mass in 1992, which opened with only four sisters.

A total of 18 women live at the convent, ages mid-twenties to nearly 90. They are part of the contemplative branch. They pray either individually or as a community up to seven hours a day. The new house has plenty of space to do that, including a landscaped courtyard that has a statue of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Full story at The Southern Cross.