The Cowley Center was designed in 1966 by the architectural firm, Voigt & Fourre as a residence for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet who provided instruction at The Basilica School. Unfortunately, the sisters withdrew from teaching at the school a few years later, and the school was closed in 1975. The convent building was leased to various businesses until 1991. In 1993, the building was dedicated to Bishop Leonard P. Cowley, 6th rector of the Basilica, and reclaimed by The Basilica as offices for the development department and meeting rooms.
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The statue of "Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted" between the Cowley Center and the church was donated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet in 1993. The statue was previously located at Saint Mary's Hospital.