Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

I would like to thank the Southeast Missourian and specifically Heidi Nieland for the unbiased coverage of the Colonial Cape Girardeau Foundation's efforts in attempting to procure funding for the purchase of St. Vincent's Seminary. The newspaper's articles have always presented the issues in an evenhanded way and have always been historically accurate.

I would also like to comment Colonial Cape's president, Mary Ann Robertson, for her heroic efforts to procure funding for the purchase and restoration of the campus. Her unending energy and optimism on the foundation board motivated those connected with the project to regroup after disappointment and continue the good fight.

As residents of Cape Girardeau, we need to remember that this was a failure of a business contract and not necessarily the Roman Catholic Church trying to bilk more money from the foundation. We also need to remember that the Vincentian order is a distinct entity in the Catholic church. The Vincentians do not receive financial support from the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese for their continued mission work, for priests' retirement and health care or for the maintenance of their buildings and property. Any money received from the sale of St. Vincent's Seminary is distributed within the Vincentian order. It doesn't go into the pockets of individual priests or the Vatican. If any one of us had signed a contract to purchase a home and defaulted a year later, the bank would foreclose, necessitating our removal. It doesn't matter that our intentions for the property were good or for the community. We defaulted on a simple business agreement of which we were fully award of the course of action.

The Vincentians have a long and wonderful history in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. At various points in time, they employed the handicapped and minorities, took in transients, cared for the ill, ministered to anyone in need and offered the finest education to men and women (St. Vincent's Young Ladies Academy). To deny them a fair market price for their property simply because they are associated with the Lord's work is ludicrous. The expectation of the Vincentians to give the college property away would deter their mission work of assisting the needy, educating the young and the spread of Catholicism.

I am still optimist the seminary will be saved in the end. Is it really necessary that Colonial Cape itself obtains the property so long as the outcome -- the preservation of the site -- is the same? What about the Downtown Neighborhood Association, a historical society or the YMCA?


Cape Girardeau