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Mo. Nuns’ Remains Moved to New Area

July 24, 2002

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The remains of 752 nuns are being dug up and removed from a cemetery on the grounds of a one-time assisted living center that was sold late last year.

The remains, buried between 1931 and 1998, are being relocated to Resurrection Cemetery in Affton from the 55-acre Villa Gesu property in north St. Louis.

Villa Gesu was sold last October for $2.9 million to Applied Scholastics International, which bought the complex to use as its headquarters and set aside $1 million for relocating the nuns’ remains.

Nuns are buried in simple pine boxes in keeping with their vows of poverty, so workers have found many of the caskets deteriorated. Each sister’s remains will be placed in a small casket, and 10 of those smaller containers will be buried in a single plot at Resurrection.

``If during the process they find a casket of a deceased intact, they will move it on its own to a whole plot,″ said Guy Bates, a spokesman for the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

If the weather remains dry, crews should finish relocating the remains within five weeks.

Headstones with the name, birth and death dates of each sister will be put into place in about six months, after the ground settles. Next spring, the order’s leaders will have a rededication and blessing ceremony at Resurrection, Bates said.

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