The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart have announced that their retreat centre at Grace Dieu will shut in September 2011.
In a statement, the congregation said the decision to close the centre had been taken, “following a process of review of all of our ministry activities throughout the [British and Irish] Province, which serves the work of the Church not just in Ireland and England but also in countries like Venezuela, South Africa and Russia as well as the southern states of the USA.”
“The review process of our ministries in England and Ireland took place over the past 18 months and was conducted with independent external assistance,” the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart went on. They said this involved consultation with members in both countries and was a “rigorous and extensive procedure.”
The order said the centre would remain open for almost another year and a half but the announcement was being made now to give staff the greatest possible notice and also to inform the many groups who had used the centre over the years.
"We wish to pay tribute to the wonderful service of our staff at Grace Dieu over many years and we recognise that today is a painful day in their relationship with Grace Dieu,” its statement said.
The order also thanked people who availed of the facilities at the Grace Dieu centre over the past three decades.
“We are profoundly grateful for the support of the local community in Waterford, including the local bishop, the priests and people of the diocese, as well as the many religious who have given their support through the years," it added.SIC: CIN