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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 16:47 GMT
Nuns' home closes after 60 years
St Winefride's nursing home
Nuns have cared for patients at the home for 63 years
A nursing home run by Catholic nuns in Cardiff for more than 60 years is to close after rising costs and falling numbers of recruits to the order.

St Winefride's home in Canton is run by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who first came to the city 93 years ago.

The nursing was once all done by the sisters, but now only one nun is among the 100 staff employed there.

The writer Saunders Lewis spent the last period of his life at the home.

The site is made up of St Winefride's nursing home and the Jane Hodge residential centre, which currently have 80 patients between them, as well as a conference centre and care centre.

It will close in October and the site will be sold.
The sisters are taking this decision as if it was a bereavement to them
Terry Maguire

There are only 190 nuns left in the whole order, and of them, 150 are over 70.

Order spokesman Terry Maguire said: "They now have to think about taking care of its own sisters."

"Smaller homes do find it difficult to keep going. Thirty or 40 years ago it was run by nuns, but there is only one there now and we have salaried staff.

"We are carrying a substantial deficit and the fees that we get cannot match the outgoings.

"The sisters are taking this decision as if it was a bereavement to them."

The home's manager, Sister Siobhàn O'Keeffe, is now the only member of the order working at the centre.

Three other nuns had now retired from work - one of whom was now 80 and had come to St Winefride's when she was just 22.

Sister Siobhàn O'Keefe
Our sisters have served the people of Cardiff for 93 years and we have been greatly enriched by that
Sister Siobhàn O'Keefe

Sister Siobhàn said everybody at the home was "greatly saddened" by the decision to close, but she understood why it had happened and was looking forward to a new challenge.

"It is with great regret that the trustees of the congregation has had to make this decision.

"We will work with the families and social services in finding the best possible placements for the residents," she said.

"The staff will be supported in every way we can to get appropriate employment, hopefully in something with the same ethos."

The three retired nuns will move to another community within the order.

As for Sister Siobhàn herself, the homes closure will mean another move.

The Cork-born nun has already worked in England, Wales, Ireland and Zambia during her career.

She said: "It's quite exciting, but I'll be very sad to leave Cardiff.

"Our sisters have served the people of Cardiff for 93 years and we have been greatly enriched by that. We hope we have enriched their lives too."


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