Archived News Item

Sisters move into their new home on an historic Mercy site


Ten Sisters have taken up residence (and another will soon) at Mercy Place Ballarat which was officially blessed and opened on Tuesday. They join other new residents in 14 small households in Mercy Health’s first purpose-built home around a new community-centred approach to aged care.


The new home was officially opened and blessed by the Bishop of Ballarat Most Rev Paul Bird CSsR on Tuesday 25 September 2018, in a ceremony attended by Institute Councilor, Elizabeth Moloney RSM, Community Leader Berenice Kerr RSM and local sisters and friends.


The new facility is on a historic site of the Sisters of Mercy, as it was previously the location of Sacred Heart College, Ballarat East which was founded in 1881.


Community Leader, Berenice Kerr RSM said that this is a dream come true.


“It was about six years ago that I said to Stephen Cornelissen, ‘I want a Mercy Place Ballarat’ and here it is.


“It is so wonderful to have a place where Sisters can come for their retirement, where they can be welcomed, where they can flourish.


“This is such a happy day for me. The staff here at Mercy Place have bent over backwards to ease the transition for our sisters and while geographically it is just across the road, psychologically it is a long way.


“I just know that they will be so happy, that they will participate and they will give so much to the houses in which they are living”.


At Mercy Place Ballarat – Berenice Kerr RSM, Karon Donnellon RSM, Rosemary Kelly RSM, Lois Wilson (Emmaus Staff Member) and Ann Coswello (Mercy Associate).


The home welcomed its first residents on Monday 3 September 2018.


Mercy Health Group Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Stephen Cornelissen says Mercy Place Ballarat provides the local community with an alternative to traditional aged care.


“Mercy Health strongly believes that people, no matter what stage in life they are at, need to be connected to the community to flourish,” Adj Prof Cornelissen says.


“The small households at Mercy Place Ballarat are designed to promote meaningful living and alleviate the loneliness, isolation and boredom that people living in aged care can often feel.


“Our pilot site in Western Australia has embraced this innovative approach to aged care and I have no doubt that the Ballarat community will too.”



Mercy Place Ballarat is made up of 14 small households. Each household caters for eight residents and has its own front door entry, kitchen, living area and outdoor space. Residents retain as much independence as they want, including choosing the time they wake up and helping plan the weekly menu for their household.


“Mercy Place Ballarat has been designed for people to age in place,” Adj Prof Cornelissen explains.


“The building has been designed for people living with dementia and for people with restricted mobility in mind. Residents can find all they need, including a grocer, café, pub, wellness centre, chapel, and more, right outside their front door — meaning they can safely and independently ‘go out within the home’.”


Mercy Place Ballarat also has spaces available for visiting health professionals, a children’s playground and a large garden. The Ballarat community is encouraged to enjoy all of these communal spaces with residents and their families.


Helen Smith (Mercy Associate), Anne Forbes RSM, Berenice Kerr RSM, Helen Forbes RSM – background: Carmel Giles RSM, Geraldine Mugavin RSM and Maryanne O’Loughlin (ISMAPNG Staff Member).