October 1, 2012

A vacation house at the South Jersey shore used by generations of elderly priests was sold at auction by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for $4.5 million Sept. 15.

Villa St. Joseph by the Sea, is a 19-room, 9,800-square-foot mansion in Ventnor, N.J., which has been owned by the archdiocese since 1963.

Although assessed at $6.2 million, the home was placed on auction for quick sale instead of on the open market to help close a projected $6-million budget gap of the archdiocese this year.

Built in 1905 with 11 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, the house features 50 metres of beach frontage, covered porches and decks with views of the ocean, beach and boardwalk, plus a large garden.

The archdiocese is selling property to meet obligations, including those created by a major clergy sexual abuse scandal.