A monastery which has been a fixture in St Helens for more than 100 years is set to close due to the “age and ill health” of its nuns.
Lingering doubts over the future of the Carmelite Monastery in Eccleston were finally confirmed by church leaders this week.
The dwindling number of postulants - just eight at present - has spelled closure for the Green Lane haven of silent prayer and peace following a 100-year mission.
The Carmelite sisters arrived in St Helens from Notting Hill in London in 1914 and settled in Springfield Hall, the former residence of the Cotham and Walmesley families.
The caring nuns soon established a reputation for business acumen in selling homegrown garden produce, Christmas cards, and more importantly, the respect, affection and goodwill of residents.
It is believed that the sisters will be resettled in spring 2015 with the site then potentially earmarked for residential development.
In a statement, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Liverpool said: “It is with great sadness that the Carmelite Sisters announce the closure of their Monastery in Green Lane, Eccleston, St Helens.
“With no new vocations to the Order the Sisters have decided after much prayer, reflection and discernment that because of age and ill health the St Helens community will disperse to other monasteries.
“The St Helens Monastery will close on a date yet to be decided during the coming year 2015.
“The future of the buildings will be determined following the closure.
“The sisters thank the local community for their prayers and support over many years and promise continued prayer for the people of St Helens in the future.
“They ask that people pray for them during the difficult months that lie ahead.”
Dedicated disciple Kevin Heneghan said: “Their departure will be a source of great sorrow for both Catholics and the faithful at large. The sisters will be wished ‘God speed’ by all whose lives were enriched by them.”