Giving Thanks For The Strand Convent





A ritual has been held giving gratitude for the wonderful Sisters of Mercy that have lived and worked at St Patrick’s Convent, The Strand; as well as officially handing over the site into the care of St Patrick’s College.


The ritual, which was held in the Convent Chapel, was attended by – the Bishop of Townsville, Most Reverend Tim Harris; Institute Leader of the Institute Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, Eveline Crotty RSM; Former Institute Leader, Berneice Loch RSM; Community Leader Helen White RSM, and local Sisters of Mercy; St Patrick’s Principal, Paulina Skerman; Ray Campbell, Chair of Mercy Partners; and, members of the St Patrick’s College community.


Berneice Loch RSM said this significant day has been a long time coming as the site holds a place in the minds and heart of each of the Sisters of the former Congregation of Townsville (now part of the Institute).


“The former congregation had thought the convent would be demolished and there were tentative plans to establish at the Southern end of the site a centre which would promote community and ministry activities. In 2017 it was finally clarified that the convent would remain. This meant that plans for the site as a whole had to be revisited,” said Sister Loch.


Sister Loch said that a great generosity of spirit led the sisters to relinquish their claim on the site in favour of what they perceived as the best way for all into the future, which was a continuation of the tradition of education on the site.


“I want to congratulate Mercy Partners, and the Board, Principal and staff of St Patrick’s for all that is so evidently being done to maintain the fine tradition of educating girls and making education available to many who would otherwise struggle to gain an education,” said Sister Loch.


Principal of St Patrick’s College Townsville Ms Paulina Skerman said this is a significant occasion not only for the College, but for the city of Townsville.


“The Sisters of Mercy have been a presence at this site since 1878 and their story and contribution to the community is very much woven in the history of this city,” said Paulina.


“We are honoured to be given custodianship of this significant site and our master planning will ensure we preserve the Mercy heritage as well as build for the future.


“The College has experienced significant growth over the past three years and this is a unique opportunity for us to masterplan for the extension of the campus to ensure our learning environment is futures-focused and innovative. We are master planning for STEM, technology and the arts as well as our ongoing commitment to providing quality boarding in the Mercy tradition.


“We are committed to continuing the work of the Sisters of Mercy, to living out the Mercy values and educating our girls to be women of Mercy.”