After caring for Bay Area seniors including dozens of priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco for almost 60 years, the Sisters of Nazareth are closing the doors of Nazareth House in San Rafael.

Surprised residents, families and staff learned from the congregation’s leadership Oct. 27 that the Marin County facility — one of four assisted care facilities run by the order in California — is unable to sustain operations and will close in early 2021.

A press release issued the same day said the coronavirus pandemic helped deal a fatal blow to Nazareth House, which has been unable to take in new residents for eight months.

“As is the case with so many affected by the global pandemic, Nazareth House simply can no longer sustain the financial, staffing and health care-related challenges presented by current circumstances,” said Barbara Ann Crowley, the congregation’s chief executive officer.

Sisters of Nazareth American Superior Sister Rose Hoye, CSN, told Catholic San Francisco Nov. 4 that closing Nazareth House in San Rafael was not something the sisters or their local board took lightly.

“It took us a long time to make this decision,” she said. “Even though it sounds like a quick decision it wasn’t. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The Sisters of Nazareth also own and operate Nazareth House locations in Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego but are only closing the San Rafael location, said Sister Hoye.

The lack of affordable housing in or even near Marin County was not an issue when the Sisters of Nazareth opened the San Rafael facility in 1962, she said. But over the past 20 years it has become a critical obstacle to finding and retaining qualified staffing.

Nazareth House had just completed a $3.5 million renovation project of the nursing unit and added a new roof, she said. Another $6 million project for residential upgrades was in the pipes but was pulled when the sisters saw where things were heading.

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.