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SILVER SPRING, Md. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A building that once housed priests — including some accused of abuse — is on the market for $28 million.
The listing states, "MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC is pleased to present the opportunity to lease a multi-purpose facility OR acquire the land it sits on at 8901–9001 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland."
The multipurpose facility was once the St. Luke Institute (SLI). The Institute's website says:
We care for Catholic clergy, permanent deacons, and consecrated religious with mood and anxiety disorders, trauma and stress-related disorders, personality disorders, interpersonal issues, substance-related and addictive disorders (current or with previous treatment and relapse), ADHD, boundary issues with adults, pornography and sex addictions, and other mental disorders that may require clinical attention.
In 2022, SLI stopped offering inpatient care and closed the Silver Spring location. SLI continues to operate other facilities it owns but without inpatient care.
The Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity — more commonly known as the Trinity Missionaries — own the site, which was once its seminary in the United States. SLI rented the facility from the Trinity Missionaries for the many years it operated inpatient care at the Silver Spring location.
Father Paul John Kalchik, who says he was sent to the facility as a means of punishment rather than for any kind of treatment for a disorder, has written extensively on the SLI facility in Silver Spring (see here, here and here).
"As a former inmate of St. Luke's Institute (SLI) in Silver Spring, Maryland, I am not saddened at all that this infamous psychiatric facility run by the Catholic Church is being sold," he told Church Militant.
"I use the word inmate here and not resident, because people chose a residence," Fr. Kalchik added. "I had nothing to do with being forcibly made to live with predators at SLI."
In 2007, in the aftermath of the closure of Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago, the priest was institutionalized for six months at SLI.
"I led a Rosary Rally in September of 2006 immediately after the announcement of Quigley's closure," he explained. "The principals in power at the Arch[diocese of Chicago] at the time determined I had to be shelved, and psychiatric hospitalization was an easy fix."
Father posited that Church-run psychiatric facilities should not exist. He noted most communities in the country already have excellent psychiatric facilities.
"In the field of psychiatry, only the most psychotic individuals, those who are a harm to themselves or others, are now removed from society and institutionalized," Fr. Kalchik observed. "In my case, leading a group of high school students upset about their school closure is hardly grounds for removing someone from his home and family for over six months."
The psychological assessment that was used to institutionalize him was doctored.
"Only bad actors in the Church, and bad psychologists, would think that maintaining a Church run Loony Bin is good," the priest surmised.
He added, "I would also welcome the horrible building being demolished."
Father clarified he was not expressing any sense of revenge or reprisal, but rather a desire to see the site used for good.
"Some day, I will put together a book, and in it, I will dedicate a chapter to SLI," Fr. Kalchik asserted. "It will be titled Breakfast with Predators, since, as an early riser, I would routinely take my breakfast first thing in the morning at six when the kitchen was opened."
He asserts he was the only non-predator at breakfast.
"About six of us would make a table, and as compared to sitting by myself in solitary confinement, I would eat with these bad boys," the priest explained. "One was a bishop, another a leading U.S. Jesuit, another a missionary, one a religious brother and a couple of other assorted diocesan priests — all predators except for me."
He notes his table companions were always friendly with him, though the conversations were mediocre.
"If you wanted to paint all these rheumy gays with one brush diagnostically, they were all narcissists of the worst sort," Fr. Kalchik remarked. "And conversations invariably revolved around them, their likes, their dislikes, their grievances and so forth."
Sometimes, he would grow tired of the conversations and eat breakfast alone.
"I will not miss SLI," Fr. Kalchik concluded. "My prayer is that this piece of God's ground has a better use in the future — maybe for some single-family homes, in which young families could get off to a good start."