Convent to shut down

A LONG standing convent in Clevedon is to close, because of its ageing nun population and lack of new recruits wanting to join the faith

A LONG standing convent in Clevedon is to close, because of its ageing nun population and lack of new recruits wanting to join the faith.The Convent of Mercy at Marine Hill, run by the Sisters of Mercy, has been operating in the town for 71 years.In a statement read out during a service at the Friary Church at the weekend by parish priest Father Reg Gray, it was announced that the convent is to close with the nuns moving to other religious centres across the country.The closure of the convent is being blamed on a lack of new recruits wanting to enter the convent and the fact that the existing nuns are becoming elderly.Father Gray said: "I understand a couple of the nuns will be leaving within the next couple of months but the full closure of the convent could take between two and four years."Parishioners were sad to hear the sisters will be leaving the town as they have been in the parish for more than 70 years and we will miss them."Nuns at the convent used to run St Anthony's Catholic Primary School which closed around 20 years ago.Sister Francis, who runs the convent, said although an announcement had been made in church, it was unlikely the centre would close for a couple of years.Sister Francis said: "Nothing is going to happen straight away."The convent comprises the main building, the old St Anthony's Catholic Primary School, gardens, a car park and the playing field behind.It is likely the site will be put up for sale when the convent finally closes.This is the second convent to close in recent years in North Somerset.The Old St Joseph's School at West Hill, Portishead, closed in 2003 with students moving to a new, purpose-built school on the former donkey field at Clevedon Road.A planning application was later submitted to redevelop the site into housing but was refused at appeal.


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