Wayward Love Songs: Byron Au Yong's Homage to the Orphans and Women of Good Shepherd
by Jen Graves
on Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Chapel Performance Space
If you lived at the Good Shepherd Center at 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North between 1907 and 1973, you were either a "fallen woman," a "troubled teen," or a child nobody wanted.
The building for this sorry purpose is a brick and stone beauty, adorned with blooming Corinthian capitals. It is in Wallingford, tucked into some trees. The architect was Conrad Alfred Breitung, a German immigrant born near Munich and arriving in Seattle in the first year of the 20th century. He was commissioned for the task by the order of the Good Shepherd, which had first set up shop on First Hill in 1890—five nuns arrived in Seattle for the purpose by train—and by 1907 needed a proper building for its pious cause. "Poor children!" Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, the order's founder, is said to have exclaimed. "Beaten about in the great tempest of the world, they have known nothing but suffering; they have never experienced the sweetness and charms of virtue."
Residents at Good Shepherd, Jonathan Shipley wrote in 2009 on the blog Vintage Seattle, "rarely left the grounds, could not excuse themselves from the nuns sharing with them those experiences of sweet virtue. Bars were in the windows."