Houses Opened and Closed in the 20th/21st Century F - L

Haywards Heath, Sussex 1911 – 1990

The Canonesses of St Augustine who were already established in Haywards Heath requested help from the Brighton community to visit the parishioners and so two Sisters began this work in 1911. The following year a property was bought by the Sisters and in 1913 the Sisters began a Branch House there. The Sisters ran a Middle Class School within the convent and in 1914 the community was able to purchase the house next door and extend. They were then able to take boarders. In 1926 the community moved to larger premises and eventually in 1963 the school had a new life as St Joseph’s Primary School. Finally in 1990 the Sisters moved out from Haywards Heath leaving behind a well prepared laity able to take on some of the many ministries in which they had been involved.

Hove, East Sussex 1993 – 2007

In 1991 the Rest Home in Brighton was being phased out in readiness for demolition and rebuilding. In Brighton there were twelve sisters who needed accommodation while the demolition and rebuilding work was in progress. Some went and lived in Crescent Villa opposite the Home in Brighton and then Sr M Paschal Gleeson, Superior at Brighton, saw an advertisement in the Diocesan paper placed by Fr Michael Reynell, PP of St Peter’s Church, Hove. He wanted Sisters to work in his parish and had a house ready at 2 Shelley Road, next door to the presbytery. The founding Sisters were Sr M Martin Ryan (later Sr Noeleen) and Sr M Antonia Doyle who went on a two year contract. Sr Antonia was to do full time pastoral work in the parish and Sr Martin would work part time at pastoral work and continue as the Bursar in the Convent at Brighton.
Sr Martin and Sr Antonia moved to Hove on 1st January 1992 and they visited the parishioners, taking Holy Communion to the sick and housebound, instructed converts and prepared young people for the sacraments. The contract for their work in the parish came to an end at the end of two years but the Home was still not ready in Brighton. Sr Martin undertook a course to prepare her for running the Home and from January 1994 to April 1995 Sr Clare Carty worked in Hove alongside Sr Antonia, after which she went to Scotland to look after her sick mother. In 1994 Sr Perpetua Lynch joined the community and worked alongside Sr Antonia until January 1996 when Sr Antonia moved to Palazzola, the English College villa near Rome.
In September 1999 Sr Norma Lynch moved from Brighton to Hove to join with Sr Perpetua. They worked in the parish together until 2002 and then from 2002 until early 2007 Perpetua carried on alone. She was given a presentation in April 2007 from the parish and Fr Gerry O’Brien, the Parish Priest for her devoted and dedicated service to the parish.

Howden, North Humberside 1994 -2010

In 1994 Sr Raymund and Sr Hilda from the Endsleigh community went to Howden to take joint responsibility with the Parish priest for the Parish. Sr Raymund worked as a Chaplain in the Wolds Remand Prison already and it was envisage d that the Sisters would be a resource for other Parishes in the South Wolds district. In March 2010 after sixteen years of service in the area the two Sisters moved to Southcoates Lane, Hull.

Hull, Cottingham Road 2006 - 2011

At the beginning of July 2006 Sr Maureen and Sr Hilary moved from Newman House to Cottingham Road in Hull as the Marist Fathers took over their previous home. Various works continued and in 2007 there was a display on religious life at the Endsleigh Centre open to parishes and schools in Hull. Sr Hilary and Sr Gabriel attended to welcome people and answer their questions. Later on in the year the Sisters accompanied Geraldine who was searching to see if she had a calling to the religious life. She was to spend the next six months with the Sisters. The year 2007 was significant too as it marked the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy in Hull so several celebrations were in order! Unfortunately in 2008 cracks appeared in some of the walls and ceiling of part of the property which had to be investigated. The investigation continued on until September 2010 when it was rectified. By the end of 2010 the decision was made to put the house up for sale and in February 2011 the Sisters moved into new homes.

Hull, Newman House 1995 – 2006

In October 1995 Sr Gabriel and Sr Hilary took up residence in Newman House, Hull. The house was soon put to use by the Parish Priest of St Anthony’s for parish meetings. The Parish Council, RCIA, SVP and Sacramental preparation all happened within the house. Sr Gabriel started working in the parish as well as taking a Scripture group at St Charles’ Church and Sr Hilary began work as a Parish Sister in St Francis of Assisi parish. In 1996 Sr Felicity joined the community. Her work was as RCIA Adviser to the Diocese of Middlesbrough. She was to live here until 2002. In May 2005 Sr Maureen joined the community. In 2005 we had received a request from the Marist Fathers to either lease or purchase Newman House from us. It was then we looked for new premises and moved to Cottingham Road, Hull in July 2006.

King’s Lynn, Norfolk 1989 – 1997

On 7th February 1989 Sr Emmanuel, Sr Margaret Mary and Sr Dolores arrived in King’s Lynn and were joined the following day by Sr Mercy. They were responding to a request for help in the parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation and the Holy Family, King’s Lynn. Sr Emmanuel got a full time job in the local Catholic Primary School and through this formed links between the school and the parish. Links were also formed with the three non-Catholic Secondary Schools in the area and two Special Schools. One of these Special schools was for severely disabled children. Another achievement in the community was to begin a Faith and Light Group for the handicapped children and their families. The training of parish catechists took place and various programmes for sacramental preparation were very successfully run. Queen Elizabeth Hospital was visited on a regular basis and several local Homes for the elderly. In 1995 Sr Christine joined the community and became involved in the field of Welfare and Disability. Finally in September 1997 Srs Mary and Christine moved on to Peterborough to continue Mercy work in that part of God’s vineyard.

Kirk Sandall, Yorkshire 1988 – 1994

The parish of Kirk Sandall was served from Armthorpe where the priest resided and so when Srs Elizabeth, Annunciata and Deborah went to live and work in Kirk Sandall in April 1988 they lived in the empty presbytery in Kirk Sandall. Sr Elizabeth worked with the handicapped in Tickhill Hospital, Sr Annunciata worked in the Maridon Pastoral Centre in Doncaster and Sr Deborah worked in the parish. The house was also used for parishioners to meet in and run short courses. After a few months Sr Maria replaced Sr Elizabeth in the community and helped Sr Annunciata in the Maridon Pastoral Centre. The name had been coined by Rev G Harney as a derivation of “Mary of Doncaster”. It catered for many people in the area, especially the disabled.

Leeds - Horsforth

St Gabriel's

A lovely stone building in Scotland Lane, Horsforth had for many years been used by Leeds Diocesan Rescue Society as St Gabriel’s Home for orphaned boys. Surrounded by extensive gardens, it must have been paradise for the twenty-four boys who lived there. In the early sixties, it was proposed by Bishop G.P. Dwyer, that St Gabriel’s be used as a Home for Retired Priests of the Leeds Diocese, and with this in mind a one storey extension consisting of six flats and a Chapel was added.
In 1967 for a short period, it was used as a Catechetical Centre by two priests until a newly equipped Catechetical Centre opened in Headingley.
By the end of the seventies, the Home was firmly established, but when there were vacancies, lay persons were accepted on a short-term basis, and their more realistic fees helped to balance the budget.
Since 1983, St Gabriel’s was registered with Leeds City Council as a Residential Care Home and, as such, was open to regular Inspection. The Home continued to operate until 1999 when the last remaining Sisters said goodbye to St Gabriel’s and moved to other communities.

St Joseph’s

In 1938 Oxford House was purchased by the Sisters of Mercy from Clifford with a view to establishing a Nursing/Convalescent Home. The Home was to accommodate 16 private patients including some long-stay and permanent residents.
In 1945 the property “Hawthorns” which was next door was also purchased to extend the Home. The Home was successfully registered with Leeds Regional Hospital Board and received their first post-operative cases in 1949.
Extensive alterations were made in 1954 and a linking building between the two buildings was accomplished.
In 1983 St Joseph’s was one of the communities joining the newly formed Institute of Our Lady of Mercy and about this time new legislation from the NHS made new demands and requirement s from the Home. Being mobile for Mercy also meant that some Sisters moved further afield Sr Vincent travelling as far away as Kenya. In 1988 the Sisters celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Home which by that time had cared for over 30,000 patients.
However in 1994 the first of the big changes happened. The Hospitals in the Leeds area were no longer going to pay for the “convalescent” part of the Home. This meant that the Home had to be reorganised to become partly “Residential” and to continue to offer private convalescent and respite care.
With Sr Bridget’s retirement as Matron of the Home in 2003 more changes loomed as the Institute considered setting up a Trust to manage the Home. Sr Sue became Manager in 2004 until the Home finally closed in 2006.

Leeds, Meanwood 1992 - 2000

The Mercy presence in Meanwood began in 1989 when Sr Nora was appointed as a Parish Sister in St Urban’s Parish. After a time of living in Hunslet it was felt that life would be easier if she lived in the parish itself and Sr Rose Carmel joined her, as she was working in Bingley with adults who had severe learning difficulties. The house itself was opened in May 1992 and the two sisters carried on their fruitful ministries in this area until 2000 when they moved to Swarcliffe, Leeds as Sr Nora had taken on Parish work in St Gregory’s, Swarcliffe Drive and Sr Rose Carmel continued her ministry of care to adults with learning disabilities at Cross Francis Street, Leeds. In October 2000 Sr Rose Carmel began looking into a ministry further afield in Romania.

Leyburn, Yorkshire 1977 – 1989

In November 1976 Sr Gabriel from Hull was interviewed for the post of Headmistress in the Catholic School in Leyburn, Yorkshire. Three sisters went to take up residence in August 1977 and at the beginning of the academic year there were just 19 pupils in the school! By September 1978 the number of children had risen to 50 and Sr John was employed as a full time teacher. It was an idyllic time for both Sisters and pupils in the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales but sadly in 1989 when there was a shortage of Sisters for the many other works of Mercy the Sisters were withdrawn from Leyburn.

London, Charlton 1998 – 2004

In 1998 Sr Annunciata and Sr Christine took adjoining flats in Charlton while they ministered in the area. By 2004 the two sisters had assessed their ministries and decided to move on to other communities.

London, Chingford 1992 – 2001

In 1989 the Sisters of Charity conceived the idea of living in a collaborative community in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith estate on a London estate. The estate chosen was Chingford Hall Estate and in 1992 Sr Agatha and Sr Maeve, a Sister of Charity took up residence in Spruce Court. The aims were to enable people living on the estate to look at their needs and how these could be met through participation and reflection, to open new lines of communication with various establishments and agencies, to provide immediate practical help and intervention and to contribute to the understanding of the experience of living as religious women on the estate. In May 1998 the Sisters moved to another part of the estate, St Fabian’s Tower as the estate was being redeveloped. However in June the decision was taken that Sr Maeve would stay at home to nurse her mother. This meant that another partner needed to be found to live with Sr Agatha. The collaborative element was enhanced in October 1998 when Mirta, a Columban Lay Missionary joined Sr Agatha to gain experience.
In May 1999 Sr Rose, a Sister of Our Lady of the Missions expressed a wish to join Sr Agatha for the last eighteen months of life on the estate and she joined her in September 1999. The project was finally brought to a conclusion at the end of October 2001, having enriched the lives of all three congregations involved.