July 1, 2024

Mercy Greenbrae Apartments on the Marylhurst campus in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Facing the future site of Mercy Greenbrae, Sisters of the Holy Names stood up, extended their hands and joined Sister Linda Patrick in a blessing for the land.

“God, we thank you for the wonder and beauty of this land. We bless it now and into the future. Fill it with community, laughter, love and all good things. Amen.”
-Sister Linda Patrick

Sisters of the Holy Names bless the land at the future site of Mercy Greenbrae.

Sisters and community leaders spoke at the November 2022 groundbreaking ceremony for the affordable housing project, celebrating the fruitful collaboration that led to plans for the first secured affordable multi-family housing ever to be constructed in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Speakers shared their dreams for the project—dreams coming true 18 months later as people move into Mercy Greenbrae at Marylhurst Commons.

When Marylhurst University closed in 2018, the campus reverted to the Sisters of the Holy Names. The looming question, what could be done with this beautiful campus to help meet a need? Guided by their core value of service to the community, the Sisters discerned their next steps.

Over the following months, members of the SNJM Provincial Leadership Team met in focus groups with Sisters, community members and Marylhurst University alumni and former staff. The passion and excitement this process generated wasn’t a surprise— people cared about the health of their community and recognized the great opportunity at hand. Leadership team member Sister Maureen Delaney said, “Many people had lots of ideas of what could happen on this campus. But one theme kept coming up in every group. The people said, ‘Housing. We need housing. We need housing for people with fewer financial resources.’”

The need has been growing in the Lake Oswego area and across Oregon for years. The 2005 final report from Lake Oswego’s Affordable Housing Task Force established the official need for more housing development, but formal recommendations for action were never realized. A 2022 report from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development determined that Oregon has a supply gap of 140,000 homes to meet the needs of the state’s population.

With the core community need of housing identified, SNJM’s leadership team established a partnership with Mercy Housing, an organization founded in 1981 by six religious communities to address the needs of low-income families. Creating over 48,000 homes since their founding, including residences for over 5,000 people in Washington and California, the Marylhurst property would be their first development in Oregon.

In line with the values of Mercy and SNJM, construction on the 100 units of affordable housing began with a focus on sustainable development. Mercy Greenbrae will use 40% less energy than a conventional building and will be fully electric, not relying on any fossil fuels for heating. But the work is not done when the building is complete.

Sister Maureen Delaney visits with sustainable development consultants.

“It’s not just the home. We also use housing as a platform,” explained Mercy’s Director of Resident Services Katie Parker on an episode of SNJM’s “Women on a Mission” podcast. Residents of the new building have access to health and wellness services as well as tutoring programs. About Mercy’s work to support residents, Sister Linda Patrick said, “Their profound commitment to providing a warm and welcoming home for individuals and families permeates and guides all they do.”

The journey that led the Sisters to Mercy Greenbrae affirms their commitment to service. Residents moving into Greenbrae are bringing new life to the Marylhurst campus. As Sister Linda’s blessing acknowledged, new residents now share in the wonder and beauty of the land.


Sister Maureen Delaney and Sister Linda Patrick participate in a hard hat tour during construction.