A SERVICE has been held to mark the end of a 130-year-old religious care centre on Wearside.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, in Sunderland, is closing because there are no longer enough nuns in the city to continue their good work with the elderly.
Yesterday, a service was held at St Joseph’s Church, in Millfield, to give those who have benefited from the nuns’ work the chance to say thank you and farewell.
A plaque was laid at the church to mark the special place the sisters have occupied in the hearts of Wearsiders since the order first started in 1882.
Originally starting out at a house near St Benet’s Church, Monkwearmouth, the order built Holy Cross Home in Ettrick Grove, where they have worked ever since.
Despite the nuns moving on, the home will continue to care for people, with new owners taking over from the sisters.
Father Michael McCoy, the Catholic Dean for Sunderland, said: “They have been a huge part of life in Sunderland for many years.
“It was good to be able to give them a final farewell and thank you for all their work.
“A lot of people came from across the country to attend the service.
“It’s had a huge impact on Sunderland as they have served the elderly poor for well over a hundred years.
“And the radical thing about them is that even though they are Catholic they have taken people in whatever their religion or background.
“Over the years hundreds of nuns have worked there and it’s good that the home will carry on taking care of residents.”
At the time the closure was announced, Sister Mary Chantal, of the Little Sisters, said: “After 130 years of service to the elderly in Sunderland, due to lack of vocations, and an ageing community, we are obliged to withdraw from Holy Cross Home, High Barnes.
“This decision on the part of the congregation has not been made lightly, but is the result of much prayer and reflection.
“With sisters getting older and no replacements in view, it is becoming more difficult for us to manage the home.”