New buildings will have JP namesakes

Rebeca Oliveira

HYDE SQ.—Two buildings nearing completion at the Blessed Sacrament campus will be named after local community organizers— Betsaida Gutiérrez and Sister Virginia Mulhern. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), the developer of the project with New Atlantic Development, held a community contest for names in May, and they were the chosen winners from 30 entries.

The 36-unit cooperative that will be part of the mixed-use building on Centre and Creighton streets the Doña Betsaida Gutiérrez Cooperative and the former convent will be will be re-named after Sister Mulhern.

“It feels wonderful to be able to honor them in this way,” Sally Swenson, fundraising and communications director for the JPNDC, told the Gazette in an e-mail.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Oct. 30

“Since coming to JP in the 1970s, Betsaida has been a leader in many community struggles to break down racial barriers, to build housing and create jobs for low-income people and immigrants, to improve our schools, and to provide better services to our seniors,” Richard Thal, executive director of JPNDC, said. “I am proud to say that Betsaida has been a big part of JPNDC for many years, first as a community organizer and then as a board and committee member.”

Gutiérrez has spent decades trying to improve the Hyde Square area. An active community leader, she helped organize the JP Scattered Site Co-op and Hyde Square Co-op, and the Latinos Comprando Casas program at City Life/Vida Urbana.

Sister Mulhern has been committed to social justice issues and working with the poor for her whole career. She is known to sit in the kitchens with many families in what was the Blessed Sacrament parish and help them cope with family issues, economic issues and other difficulties. She is currently part of the St. Mary of the Angels Catholic parish in Egleston Square.

The Sister Mulhern facility will become single room occupancy (SRO) homes for 28 formerly homeless individuals. It will have a 29th unit for a live-in manager.

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