Adoration Sisters wave goodbye to Bride Street
The last seven Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Wexford will leave their Bride Street convent today (Tuesday) for the last time, making way for the landmark historic building to become a Hall of Residence for American students.
The enclosed, contemplative community which was established by the late Bishop Thomas Furlong with the sanction of Rome, for the purpose of engaging in continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and praying for the people of the diocese, has been in the town since 1875.
But numbers have dwindled over the years and the ages of the remaining sisters, have made the responsibility of looking after the large convent as well as engaging in church duties, more onerous.
Wexford County Council has agreed to purchase the extensive building beside Bride Street Church for accommodation for students from Georgia Southern University in Savannah who are attending a new learning hub which opened recently in the old County Hall in Spawell Road.
The nuns are held in great affection by the people of the town and county and their sad departure was announced by Parish Administrator Fr. Aodhán Marken at Masses in Bride Street Church on Sunday.
A few of the sisters were in the church at the time and afterwards there were quietly emotional scenes as parishioners went up to them to say goodbye and to wish them well in their new life.
The sisters are re-locating to a section of the recently-refurbished and extended St. John of God Convent in Newtown Road, where they will have their own oratory.
Diocesan press officer Fr. John Carroll said the sisters are older now and fewer in number and when the offer came from the St. John of God nuns to move there, they accepted it.
He said the parish welcomed the fact that the Bride Street building is to be used for educational purposes.
While the sale is still in progress, the local authority will take control of the convent from today, to begin work on converting into a Hall of Residence.
'Everyone recognises that it's a necessary decision but it has the tinge of deep sadness to it because of the affection in which the sisters are held by everyone. It's just a consequence of changing times and the new world in which we now live', said Fr. Carroll.
'In the almost 150 years of their existence, there is no accounting for the amount of good work they have done and the amount of work they will continue to do, living in Newtown Road', he said.
'They will continue to live out their vocation in a new, more private way'.
Fr. Carroll said it is expected that a special function will be held at a later date to mark the departure of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration from Bride Street.
The parish has appealed for volunteers to help out in Bride Street Churchin the absence of the nuns.
Eucharistic Ministers are required to distribute Holy Communion on Monday to Friday mornings at 8 a.m. Mass; Saturday evening Mass at 7 p.m. and Sunday Mass at 11 a.m.
The parish is also looking for volunteers to open the church before Mass in the mornings.
People are reminded that the church will now open Monday to Friday at 7.30 a.m., Saturday at 8.30 a.m. and Sunday at 8.30 a.m.
Anyone who can help is asked to give their name and telephone number to the Sacristan.
'This need has arisen due to the fact that the Sisters of Adoration are leaving Bride Street', according to the parish newsletter.