Building for the future
Article by Sr. Helen Warburton
Province of Great Britain
Our Congregation first set foot on these shores in 1840 in the south of England, from where we gradually spread to all parts of England, Scotland, and Wales. We found our way to Manchester in the northwest in 1866. As the epicenter of the Industrial Revolution, the work in the city grew, and the Congregation needed more space. Eventually, the Sisters moved to Litchford Hall, Blackley, to accommodate this expansion. We have remained in this same property until now, albeit with various adaptations: major extensions, the building of a church (later demolished), and so on.
The old Litchford Hall, which housed the Sisters for almost 150 years.
On coming into office in 2014, Sr. Rosemary Kean, the new Province Leader, had been asked to conduct a survey of the Province to see if the current living conditions of the Sisters met their needs. All was well except for the community in Litchford Hall. This building, which had once housed thirty-four Sisters, was home to a community of eight. The boilers were antiquated and unable to be regulated. Every week, new leaks would appear, or plaster would fall off the decaying walls, etc. The Sisters found the long corridors and lack of a lift in sections of the building problematic.
The new Litchford Court, which the Sisters hope to move into before Easter.
Consequently, Sr. Rosemary proposed a purpose-built property much more suitable to the needs of the Sisters to be located within the same grounds and beside our care home. The accommodation was designed with an eye to the future. There are several apartments that may accommodate members of other religious congregations or, indeed, that may be sold to other people in the fullness of time. The Sisters hope to move into the new property in time to be able to celebrate Easter this Sunday in the beautiful new chapel, which displays our exquisite restored stained-glass windows of St. Jean Eudes and St. Mary Euphrasia. The new property will be known as ‘Litchford Court’ to maintain a link with the history of the site.
It is hoped that the old convent and land on which it stood might be developed into a retirement village to provide accommodation for older adults and offer a potential ministry for the Sisters.