Lack of demand for quiet reflection forces closure of Catholic retreat

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FOR the past two decades it has been a place for quiet reflection and the chance to escape the pressures of modern life.

But demand for a Catholic retreat in East Yorkshire has fallen so much that it is to close.

The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy is planning to close the Endsleigh Centre in Hull, which is also a conference and wedding venue and provides bed and breakfast, this spring. Nine lay staff face redundancy.

The institute, founded by the Irish nun Catherine McAuley in 1831, said despite repeated efforts to encourage more people to come, numbers attending retreats had fallen.

A spokesman said: “There are many reasons for the decline. A major one is a growing pressure on people’s time and money.

“The paradox is that the more they need time away for spiritual reflection and quiet, the harder it is to make that time.”

The institute came to Hull in 1856 in response to a request to take charge of the education of the city’s Catholic children and there are 13 retired sisters in a convent on Southcoates Avenue.

Institute leader Sister Colette said: “We realise that this announcement will come as an unwelcome shock for all those associated with the centre.

“The Endsleigh Centre has played a big part in the lives of so many sisters who have dedicated their lives to the furthering of Catholic education.

“As we consider the future, we remember all who passed through its corridors and contributed to the work of the Sisters of Mercy.”

The institute runs care and nursing homes, as well as sheltered accommodation and convents in Doncaster, Whitby and London.