Saturday, October 29, 2011

Notre Dame Convent to close, Charlottetown

141-year-old P.E.I. convent to close

A date hasn't been set for the Notre Dame Convent's closure.  Province of PEI.
The Notre Dame Convent in Charlottetown has been slated for closure, though a date has not been set.
The congregation has said the building and the nuns who live there are aging.
As part of a long process that's involved a close look at all their buildings in English Canada, the Sisters of Notre Dame have decided the Sydney Street convent will close in the future.
They say the 26 nuns who live there are aging, and many need nursing care. And there just aren't enough young nuns joining the order to keep the building viable.
The convent opened in 1870 as a school. The sisters of Notre Dame were teachers.
They taught hundreds of Catholic girls there over the years, and it finally closed as a school in 1971.
Carolle Anne Blanchard, who went to school there from grades one through 12, said she has many fond memories.
“Art and there were plays and the camaraderie of my friends who are still good bosom friends today," she said. Blanchard and others say they'd like the exterior of the historic building preserved.
She said she'd like to see room set aside inside to commemorate the school.
“But it needs to be put to a more productive use. I would suggest perhaps nursing care or perhaps assisted living, condos and apartments maybe.” Blanchard said.
This isn't a new issue on the Island.
Mount St. Mary's in Charlottetown has been trying to sell its property for the last three years.
And there have been other convents on the Island that have closed their doors in the past.
The nuns who still live there will have to move when the convent does close.
The nuns were reluctant to talk to the media.
But spokeswoman Sister Catherine MacDonald from the nuns' English headquarters in Nova Scotia did confirm "we are closing down Notre Dame Convent in the future. As an aging community, we have to move along with life. It is never easy."
She said the organization would have more information for the public next year, likely in the spring.


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