Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School

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Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and Sisters of the Presentation of Mary Announce Formal Proceedings Have Begun for NDCR Purchase of Five PMA School Buildings on Searles Estate

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Lawrence, MA/Methuen, MA – The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) and the Sisters of Presentation of Mary announced today that formal proceedings have begun for the SNDdeN sponsored Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School (NDCR) to purchase Presentation of Mary Academy’s (PMA) school buildings in Methuen.  The school section of the former Searles Estate consists of five buildings, approximately 5+acres of a 24+ acre property which the Sisters are selling.  Having provided a Catholic education for families in and around Methuen for 60 years, both religious orders fell into immediate agreement that NDCR, who has been looking to expand space and reach for its own high school community, would be the perfect fit to purchase the school buildings and carry on the mission of Catholic education at this location. 

“The Sisters of Presentation of Mary could not be happier to welcome the Sisters of Notre Dame and their incredible school community onto our campus,” said Sr. Helene Cote, Provincial of the Sisters of Presentation of Mary.  “As one can imagine, it has been and is a very difficult time for us as we prepare to close our own school after so many years. To allow the greater mission of Catholic education and identity to the youth in this area through Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School’s college and career readiness curriculum is exactly what we would want in this transition.”

As part of NDCR’s current five-year strategic plan, the SNDdeN Corporate Members, the Board of Directors, and the NDCR school leadership team spent the last few years researching the possibility of a new location for its entire school community. Limited in space, increased financial concerns at its current location and the inability to address the demands of enrollment, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur engaged in conversation with the Sisters of Presentation of Mary when news broke about them closing the school.

“While our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that Presentation of Mary Academy will be closing at the end of this school year, God has provided an opportunity for our school communities to turn a difficult situation into one of promise and hope,” said Sr. Maryalyce Gilfeather, President of Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School.  “So many of our friends in the community, our families, our students and even our alumni reached out to me about the possibility of purchasing PMA, knowing of its availability and size. To say we have the support of so many individuals on this move is an understatement.”

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who have served the community of Lawrence for over 160 years, are no strangers to the Methuen community as they also established and staffed Saint Monica School in 1958. The Sisters have been a constant and dedicated presence by educating local children and their families and spreading Catholic identity to both communities.  Through Notre Dame Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program, students from NDCR work in several Lawrence organizations as well as St. Monica’s School and other Methuen organizations and businesses.  The ability to continue serving both communities with more physical space to grow means more opportunities for more students and their families.

With a signed purchase and sales agreement between the two Religious Congregations, proceedings now begin for the 120-day inspection process of the five school buildings to be purchased. When asked how likely it will be for NDCR to begin the 2020-2021 school year at the new location, Sr. Maryalyce replied, “Given the support of our Good God, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, our SNDdeN Corporate Members, Board of Directors, donors, faculty, staff, students and families, and ALL the prayers we have offered during this time, I am confident that we will be able to welcome our students to their new home. I cannot thank the Sisters of Presentation of Mary enough for working with us to provide this opportunity of growth for our NDCR mission. And I am so very grateful to have the support of both Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence and Mayor Neil Perry of Methuen as we move forward – we are blessed!”

About Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School: 

Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, established in 2004 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and located in the heart of Lawrence, Massachusetts, is a Catholic, college preparatory high school serving low income, predominantly minority youth in grades 9-12. The school offers students the opportunity to earn 60% of their tuition through its Corporate Work Study Program while also preparing them for higher education through a college preparatory and career readiness curriculum.

About Presentation of Mary:

Located on the historic Searles Estate in Methuen, Massachusetts, Presentation of Mary Academy is a Catholic, college preparatory high school for young men and women. PMA provides students with a quality education that has been integrating Catholic beliefs and values with academic excellence since 1958.

For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Twitchell

Marketing & Communications Director

Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School