A glimpse of black-robed nuns ice skating. A line of little girls in navy blue uniforms with white sox being lead like ducklings along a rainy, shiny street. The quiet and serenity of community.

These Frederick has lost.

We have gained three acres and $20 million of developing busy-ness. (On hallowed grounds: Work on hotel at former Visitation site progressing, Nov. 4)


M. Jane Dunsmore


(36) comments


I would much rather have the tax-paying Marriott project than the tax-exempt nunnery. The occasional glimpse of ice-skating nuns just isn't that interesting to me.


Nothing freezes over anymore anyway. Global Warming.


Why does God hate winter so much?


Why do people not care enough about the planet or other species?


Because if the incentives. See "Tragedy if the Commons".


What do you expect when the population continues to grow. While people aren't popping out kids like a Pez dispenser pops out candy anymore, the population does continue to grow and the people have to go somewhere. If you don't like it, you should help push for change. The most equitable thing to do would be to eliminate the subsidies parents get for having children (i.e., income tax deductions and tax credits). They should not pay less in income taxes simply because they choose to have children and thus increase the need primarily for state and local services.


Wrong MD1756. You keep on spouting this nonsense about kids, parents and taxation in post after post to article after article.

Let it rest. One day you will wake up to realize parents with children pay out more taxes overall than childless couples, and thus tax breaks and credits simply level the playing field.

Bigger homes equal more property taxes. More driving means more gas taxes. More clothing equals more taxes paid. More non-food items, which are taxed in MD. Higher utility bill taxes. I could go on and on.

You gotta wake up my friend. Kids turn into adults with jobs that pay into the US Social Security System. You seem very content to disparage the very spoon that does, or one day will, feed you.


While what you write may be true, Happy, it misses the central point of MD1756's argument. Population growth (and its ever increasing demand for energy and resources) is a significant cause of global warming, and nobody is addressing it because it is "an inconvenient truth". Government tax policies are used to promote desirable behaviors, and discourage undesirable behaviors. If global warming is undesirable, and population growth is a significant cause of such warming, why has the government not adjusted its tax policies to discourage population growth? The science certainly makes sense. However, the politics do not.


Worries about population growth and children in regards to climate change is very dubious at best, and a red herring at worst.

You move away from fossil fuels and airborne pollutants to solar and wind energy, and strongly focus on renewable and recycled resources, it does not matter how many children the world has, or will have.

The focus must be on the root cause here, not the sidetracking. This LTE and issue has nothing to do with taxes and having children. It is just a convenient go to point for MD1756.


Ok, that takes care of fossil fuel use, or a lot of it anyway. Then there is food and water. The plains aquifers are being drained far faster than they can be refilled. The Ogallala aquifer, that produces 1/5 of our food, and 1/6 of the world's grain, has about 75 years left. Others aren't much better. The western states are in a severe drought despite the recent rainfall. So where's the food going to come from? Less food and more people are not compatible. Short term thinking.


Gabrielshorn, I don't believe that what HappySeller wrote is true except in one or two small areas and you can see from my response to HappySeller.


HappySeller, once again you are wrong. I don't know how you can be so blind to the full life cycle costs. of things. It is not simply energy use, that is one thing but it is also habitat loss and other pollutants including pollutants created for items people purchase including all those cell phones families have that seem to need to be upgraded every so often (that's just one example).

Gabrielshorn, HappySeller's thinking isn't just short term it is simply wrong and it is an attempt to justify paying less taxes while creating more demand for government services at the same time as polluting the planet more. Again I ask HappySeller how many children he/she has and what has HappySeller done to help reduce his/her and his/her family's adverse impact on the planet. I doubt you'll get a serious answer.


Wrong Happyseller. I call B.S. on most of what you wrote. You keep spouting poor information and I've tried to correct your illogical (and just wrong) thinking in the past The size of a house is only loosely one factor in property tax calculations. Ultimately it is the assessed value and one can own a small condo that is taxed more than a 10 acre property in some areas. What do you think are the taxes paid in say NW DC versus across SE DC for the same size house? Even for a smaller house in NW DC versus a huge house in SW DC? Can we say Location, Location, Location? Additionally, I live in a single family home in a neighborhood surrounded by families who are paying approximately the same in property taxes as I am. In fact, on a per person basis I pay more. Despite being the only person at my property, having a well and septic system, I pay the same "flush" tax as say a family of 10. There are plenty of families who live in apartments who only pay property tax through their rents. Additionally, property taxes are significantly less than my income taxes (federal and state) even in retirement. Just because someone buys more clothes doesn't mean the spend more money and therefor pay more sales tax. Those that don't have to but as much food at a grocery store have more money to potentially buy luxury items which are certainly taxed more than the taxes paid on food bought in a grocery store. The tax difference on the utility bills is probably negligible, so I call B.S on pretty much your whole argument about parents paying more in taxes. Right now parents are given $3,000 to $3,600 income tax credit per child just for their federal income taxes (more when you include state and local piggy back taxes). For clothes, maybe you should learn to shop during the tax free days each year in Maryland. There is no way they make up that difference in sales tax when they (families) are spending a larger percentage of a given income on items that are not taxed.

I agree more driving means more gas which means more destruction to the planet. Thank you for agreeing about that point. However having a family does not guarantee that one drives more, but again even if they do, is it enough to offset the the income differences (and the federal $3,000 or $3,600 per child is just one of the tax deductions/credits available to parents).

Now, lets look at the burden the parents put on local and state governments. In Frederick, 51% of the $712.5 million FY 22 budget expenditures is allocated for education (see their budget information). For the state (for FY22) it is 18% for Elementary and Secondary Education plus 14% for Higher Education. Now, none of that includes all of the other programs that support children.

I've also pointed out in the past how Social Security is in decline and people don't get the same rate of return as those who originally paid into and received from the system. Anything that relies on population growth is basically a Ponzi scheme and is unsustainable.

So, HappySeller, you have to wake up to the costs and harm of a growing population. You have to wake up and realize the destruction that a growing human population has on the environment and on the species. You have to wake up to the Fact that those with children are being subsidized by others while adding to many environmental problems including climate change, other hazardous and toxic pollutants, habitat loss and species' extinctions.

HappySeller, has your family done anything for the environment lately? Can you match the 12.3 kW solar system I've installed? Can you match the geothermal system I've installed? Can you match the plug-in hybrid I drives? What have you done besides add to the pollution? How many children do you have? The U.S. 2020 per capita average is 14.24 tonnes. So how much have you added by having children?


Either accept change or get steamroller by it. This situation has been in the works for years. Instead of focusing on Matan, or the nuns, or the Visitation Academy, let's focus on moving forward in the best way possible.

I do not have a horse in this race, but pining of days yore takes away time well spent in making a better future, in this case.


Pay the nuns a fair percentage of the profit Matan made by giving a worthless promise then essentially flipping the property to himself. Follow the money.


Seven, the nun's order (Sisters of the Visitation) sold the property, not the nuns, and the purchaser was not "Dick Dastardly" from the cartoons. It was surplus property that cost a lot to maintain, and was dispensable. If you still believe that the developer ripped someone off, go ask the nuns order why they sold it. BTW, the nuns took a vow of poverty when joining their order. They didn't own any of the property.

"In the spring of 2005 the Visitation Monastery closed its doors as an act delivered from the Vatican. The remaining 3 Visitation Sisters were transferred to the Monastery of the Visitation of Holy Mary Monte Maria in Rockville, Virginia.[3]"


So, when the Vatican said "sell it", should the Sisters have disobeyed and said "no"? Did the Pope "rip the sisters off"? No.


[thumbup]gabe Visitation nuns are housed. The handful that remained here will have lifelong care, etc. The foreign boarders contributed greatly to the financial maintenance of the property and that was becoming difficult to sustain. One parent, no matter how well-heeled, can be expected to forever fund a girls’ school. Parents tried to raise the funds to take over responsibility but were unable. It is indeed sad. This is a huge building. Anyone who owns a home in the historic district might tell you, it has to be a labor of love, because it will cost you in time, money and aggravation to meet standards. It now belongs to an entity that hopefully has deep enough pockets. It will come alive again. It should be shared. We are blessed with quaint memories of our daughters. Where I grew up, the Benedictine motherhouse of the United States has been torn down. I studied at its music academy which was attached to my church, where Sister Cyrilla and I shared our frustration over my lack of talent. I had friends there. They are now in the Sisters’ cemetery behind my elementary school, every one. All the Sisters were my dad’s dental patients, there were over 100 in the sixties. I felt at home there always. I visited Srs. Mary Grace and Jane Chantal the last time with my daughter and could see the Order dwindling and aging - at one time, they “did it all” -but too many were now on the third nursing floor. Its last lifelong serious patron had died and the family elected not to continue their tradition. It was dark. They lived in smaller spaces of it. I was told it was actually no longer “livable” and then it was decided that nothing could be done about it. The remaining Sisters dispersed. There were final tours. Then sales. They even tore down the line of ancient pines that shrouded it from the street. It is erased. I do have a painting of it. My dad was also an artist. I am luckier than those who have no painting. But not as lucky as those who will be able to visit their memories again at Visitation. I am fortunate to have known how all monasteries are not alike. I rented in a Dominican monastery in Philadelphia that is now a homeless shelter. It was minutes from the wrecking ball too, when interested persons proved it was designed by a noted NY architect. Visitation as a boutique hotel is an inspired use. We can wish ourselves back in time, but too often it takes a lot more than that to change what must be faced. I refuse to be sad about this.


All - Happyseller is obviously a real estate agent. Therefore the slanted views. In their eyes we can't pave over farm land fast enough.


As someone who used to go to Mass at the chapel regularly, let me give some more perspective.

The archdiocese "looted" the chapel of basically everything that wasn't nailed down a couple years before closing it. Masses were said in the chapel by retired priests. It was a more traditional service. Local priests were outraged that the chapel "was acting like a parish" in the words of a former St. John's pastor. Its wasn't--they explicitly announced all the time that it was NOT a parish, and that people who attended Mass there should still support their own parishes. But it did offer an alternative service that was in stark contrast to the other Masses in the area that habitually ignored GIRM regulations or pushed them to the limit. Anyone who went to one of the Visitation Masses came away with a senses of reverence and peace. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Masses in nearby parishes.


Slow minded. The Sisters left the monastery over 15 years ago, and the girls school closed because of lack of interest. Has nothing to do with the developer. The LTE writer appears to prefer run down empty buildings.


And sadly, the nuns were given a pittance and a worthless promise -by the man who later made millions off the deal - that he would keep the school open. Matan. Look it up.

This property will never be successful. It was founded on greed and lies.


7 your words ring true. Reading the 2016 article says it all. Probably have to modify the "how to tell when a lawyer is telling a lie" to include developers.


"Visitation Academy purchase loan came from board chairman's company"

By JEREMY BAUER-WOLF jbauerwolf@newspost.com Jun 23, 2016

"Frederick County developer Mark Matan is board chairman of the corporation that owns Visitation Academy, the all-girls Catholic school slated to close next week."

"He is also principal of a company that would take possession of the downtown Frederick property if the owner, Visitation Academy Inc., defaulted on its loan."

"“Taking possession” of the property means Matan’s company could use and improve it, and collect revenue generated from the property, but owning it would require foreclosure."

"Matan did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. He has not returned multiple phone calls to his home and office since The Frederick News-Post reported June 17 that Visitation would close June 30."


Some people have too much class to comment and nothing to gain from it. His daughters attended Vis. It would’ve closed sooner without his help. No good deed goes unpunished.


I am guessing that the Catholic Church owned this? I mean, they have plenty of money.


The Catholic Church did not own the property. The order of elderly nuns did. The Catholic Church did not support nuns, ever. The nuns had to support themselves after years of teaching for virtually nothing, and many of them ended up impoverished in their old age.


They’re not all elderly, the Order owns properties elsewhere that are probably not as potentially problematic to maintain. Elderly nuns and priests are supported by parish collections and various individuals in keeping with vows they took. Parishes and or/dioceses often paid for their higher education. My one friend, a music and elementary teacher, returned to college in her fifties where she was certified in handwriting analysis and took other courses to qualify for work in personnel at a carbon products plant. Their incomes support them all, some worked in schools, some at the hospital, quite unique for a cloistered Order. Sister would answer my letters by commenting on what my handwriting told her that I did not. It drove me crazy.


A pittance, you say? How much were they paid? Why wouldn't they hold out for what they thought it was worth? A worthless promise, you say? What were they promised?


Elderly nuns are easy and fun to cheat! How do you live with yourself?

What’s around comes around. This property will never be successful.


Nobody cheated any elderly nuns, seven. The nuns belong to an order (The Sisters of the Visitation). Read this: :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Visitation_of_Holy_Mary

This is a very old worldwide order of Catholic nuns with plenty of money, not some poor, feeble women.


seven seems to be misinformed


The ones I knew were sharper than anybody clear into their 200’s


No one knows if the O'Hare Visitation project will be successful. The issue is whose money is at risk. In this case it is the O'Hare and his backers who are fully funding the project and taking the risk, and they will rightly reap the reward if it is successful. In the case of the Plamondon Marriott, by contrast, up to $30 million of taxpayer money would be at risk on the downside without any tangible taxpayer benefit to taxpayers on the upside.


No. Sigh.


This country was founded on greed and lies and we've been pretty successful. Just ask the American Indians.


Times change. The academy did what it could remain viable. Yes, the days of yesteryear seem sweeter. But, we should be grateful that the beautiful building has a second chance for life. And, it will not become a blighted eyesore in the community.


True words. While I might not be wild about the larger corporate entity involved in the redevelopment, the facts are that this is a large project that needs that type of partner. I'm wishing all involved success and hoping that they are a good steward of the property and a good addition to our town.

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