Official blessing of €6.5m retreat centre

Mount St Anne's
The €6.5 million renovation and extension of the Mount St Anne’s in Killenard will be officially blessed by the new Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin this weekend.

The €6.5 million renovation and extension of the Mount St Anne’s in Killenard will be officially blessed by the new Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin this weekend.

Up to 300 people have been invited to attend the event on Sunday, which will be performed by Bishop Denis Nulty.

Work began in earnest in November 2011 on renovating the existing facilities and extending the centre to be able to cater for more people.

“The four of us lived here and continued to work on school retreats, adult workshops and conferences while the building work was going on,” Sr Roisin Gannon, Centre Director said.

“We’re on time and everything went smoothly there was a lot of local labourers involved which is what we wanted from the start.”

Along with making all the bedrooms en-suite, three individual self catering apartments were also built for people who don’t wish to be part of a group.

The house and grounds are now fully wheelchair accessible and the dining room can seat 150 people, while the conference hall which has all the modern IT facilities can cater for 150 people.

The stain glass windows, which are the work of John Murphy, a former student of Harry Clarke, were retained and used in both the conference hall and the new Chapel.

“We had a budget of €6.5million and we hope to come in at that,” Sr Elizabeth Maxwell, Provincial Leader of the Presentation Sisters said.

The work was fully funded by the Presentation Sisters.

“We believe in a centre for spirituality, so we decided to put our funding into a spiritual centre. We are committed to the Gospel and to Nano Nagle who was our foundress,” Sr Roisin explained.

The centre will employ seven full time employees who will work alongside the sisters in the community.

Sr Roisin said the Presentation Sisters took a leap of faith when embarking on the refurbishment.

“The demand was there and we are answering a need. People need or look for peace and quiet. They need to get off the merry go round, every once in awhile and need their personal space.

“We took a leap of faith but God has answered,” she said.