Mercyville Aged Care Facility ends after 40-year contribution

28 Oct 2021

By Contributor

The Mercyville Aged Care Facility has closed its’ doors from Tuesday, 5 October, after operating for the past 40 years, with the land being handed back to the Sisters of Mercy in conjunction with the decommissioning ceremony of the chapel.

the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG), WA Community Leader, Sr Carmel Daley, said that the former residents have all been relocated to other facilities, while Sisters of Mercy Teresa Daly RSM and Bronagh O’Hagan RSM are settling into a Mercy Health Facility in Mont Clare.

“It was necessary for us to have a decommissioning of the chapel. It was a very moving occasion led by Monsignor Tim Corcoran who kindly led us with the simple, yet meaningful ritual.”

No decision has yet been made on the future of the site, Sr Carmel added.

At the decommissioning ceremony, Sr Beverley Stott recounted the history which led to the blessing and opening of the Craigie facility.

In the early 1970s’, student numbers at the foundation school at St Brigid’s Motherhouse, John St, West Perth were declining dramatically. 

The population demographic in this inner-city suburb of West Perth (now Northbridge) was changing to a light industrial /commercial landscape.

Responding to these signs of the times, Sr Joan Flynn, at the time Mother General of the West Perth Congregation of the Sisters’ of Mercy together with her Council, decided to re-establish the school in the spirit of the original foundation of the founding sisters in an expanding part of the city in need of such an institution.

This school became Mercy College in Koondoola, today a large vibrant multicultural K-12 College catering for students from their earliest years to the end of their secondary education.

This catalyst for change meant the ageing community of West Perth sisters were also to re-establish themselves in a new convent home, purpose built for their growing needs.

One part of this new housing was specially built to care for aged sisters.

Another part was a new convent to house any new applicants to the Congregation as well as a regular community of teaching sisters.

At the centre of this foundation, was a stand-alone Convent Chapel.

The chapel, named St Brigid’s Chapel, was completed in 1978 when it was blessed and opened by the then Auxiliary Bishop of Perth, Peter Quinn DCL.

Originally designed by architect Gerald Bosich who was guided by the view of the sisters that it ought to reflect post Vatican theological developments in liturgical practice, the chapel’s design was built upon a triangle shape (symbol for the Trinity) and can be seen in the shape of the roof which rises to a high point positioned directly above the place for the celebration of the Eucharist. 

The specially designed pews have all the benefits of the traditional prie-dieu as well as incorporating the needs of the present users. 

There is a padded kneeler, a place for the storage of prayer books and a stable design. In more recent times the stained-glass windows from the former chapel at St Mary’s Convent Leederville have been installed in the Eastern wall.

For the past 40 years, the chapel has been used on most days of the week for the Eucharist, gathering both parishioners of the surrounding parish as well as the former residents of the aged care facility.

Sr Beverley added that the sisters’ have treasured this sacred space over the years.

She went on to explain that Sisters living in the aged care facility have had the daily privilege of the Eucharist and their many hours spent in prayer.

Sisters in their formation years preparing for religious life have also held major milestones of their formation within its’ walls.