Thursday, 2 June 2011

Lourdes Convent to Close after 107 Years


 Junior School of Lourdes Convent now St Bernadette's School
Photo by Tony Mold
Claire Shelton-Jones reports: The Sisters of Charity of Nevers, who came to the St Mary's, Preston Park in 1904 and set up a school there, have announced that they are about to leave Brighton and St Mary's Parish. (In 1903 the Bishop of Nevers had written to the Bishop of Southwark seeking asylum for the sisters who at that time were suffering from a wave of anti-clerical feeling in France and having their schools closed.)

The convent chapel in Preston Park was the first Catholic church in that part of the City and served as the Parish Church from 1904 until St. Mary's was opened in 1912. Lourdes Convent School celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1953 having grown from 10 pupils to over 300. It finally closed in the 1970s. The old building including the chapel was demolished and part of the land sold for building. The former junior school became St Bernadette’s RC Primary School.

The sisters’ connection with the parish grew even stronger after the school closed, working with parish groups, visiting the sick and involved in the community in so many ways. They will be sadly missed. The Lourdes Convent in Harrington Road closed down on Palm Sunday and the Sisters moved to Dublin and Blackburn.
For reflections and reminiscences on the school and the sisters go to www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__8781_path__0p115p206p1657p.aspx

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