Before the days when Sisters were permitted to spend a regular holiday with their families, the need for a house away from the scene of their normal activities, where rest and relaxation could be provided, was recognised. So, in 1927, a house for this purpose was rented in Hornsea for use by members of the various Communities in Sheffield. Over the years, a succession of houses met this need until, in 1949, the present property facing the seafront was purchased, and was quickly agreed to have been the very best yet! An extension, consisting of a lovely Chapel, Sacristy and ten ground – floor bedrooms, further enhanced the Holiday House, especially for elderly and less able-bodied Sisters.
There was however no resident in Community in Hornsea and as time went on and Sisters were free to spend holiday time with their families, the house by the sea was very much under-used. So, when it became the property of the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, following the Inaugural General chapter 1983 – 1984, questions were raised regarding the justification of its continuing use. But there were so many more pressing decisions to be made that Hornsea was temporarily relegated to the back burner!
As the House was originally the property of the Sheffield Congregation, whose Convents are now part of Emmaus Province, it was at this Province’s 2nd Chapter (1990) that the decisions was taken to open Hornsea Convent as a place of rest, relaxation, holiday and retreat for Sisters and for needy families who could not otherwise afford a holiday. Further to ensure ready availability and a welcoming presence, it was agreed that there should be a small resident community.
Since November 1990, when the house was blessed, Sr M Martina McCormack and at least one other Sister have been happy to welcome a great variety of groups, either on a Self Catering or Catered For basis. It is proving to be a genuine service of those in need of relaxation of the mind and body, leading to a renewal of spirit.