Since 1862, the fortress-like complex has sheltered, educated and nurtured people in need, from Irish orphans to developmentally disabled adults and poor Hispanic children.
But suddenly, some months ago, the convent's elderly residents faced shattering news: They learned they'd be forced to leave the "mother house" of the Sisters of Mercy in Brooklyn, a Roman Catholic order whose aim is "to help people to overcome the obstacles that keep them from living full and dignified lives," according to their mission statement.
The reason for the convent closure in mid-February: money. Engineers said it would cost more than $20 million to fix structural and safety problems discovered in the building in the Fort Greene neighborhood.
Preservationists fear that the property, a collection of buildings that covers almost a city block, could be targeted by developers and demolished, like other religious institutions across the country that have vanished for lack of money or members.
Here's a slideshow.
What will the Sacred Sites program do about this?