The former Convent of Mercy in Ardee Co. Louth has been bought by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), who hope to use it for the female branch of their order, for €925,000.
Canon Wulfran Lebocq, Pro-Provincial of the Institute in Ireland, said the community is now “on its knees” having taken out a €600,000 loan to secure the property.
“Our community is now on its knees, not only in prayer in the chapel, but also financially with over €230,000 to reimburse by 15th August this year,” Canon Lebocq said in a statement. “Prayers and donations are welcome!”
The convent was built in the 1850s and comprises a three-storey block, with an attached chapel and gate lodge set in 10 acres of land.
The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart – the ICKSP’s female order – are semi-cloistered nuns and “will soon begin their community life in the footsteps of the Sisters of Mercy”.
“These young sisters will also prepare the convent so that the Institute African missionaries can find in Ardee a place where they can rest, pray and recover from their apostolic work in a much cooler climate,” the ICKSP said in a statement.
No date has been set for any public opening and welcome to the Sister Adorers but a family already resides as caretakers on the premises.
The ICKSP was invited to serve in Ireland and established its headquarters in the Diocese of Limerick in 2006.
Members of the order also reside in the Diocese of Down and Connor – where in 2019 they reopened a former Presbyterian church in Belfast – and in Galway.
They expressed their “profound gratitude” to Nuncio to Ireland Jude Okolo and to Primate of Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin, and “thank in a special way His Excellency Matthew Madega, Bishop of Mouila in Gabon for his encouraging words to acquire a house in Ireland where the missionaries can come rest in a prayerful atmosphere”.
Founded in 1990, the Institute is a Roman-Catholic Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right in canonical form. The 125 priests of the Institute work all over the world to promote the spiritual Kingship of Christ.
The ICKSP celebrates the classical Roman Liturgy – the Latin Mass – in its Extraordinary Form according to the liturgical books promulgated by Saint Pope John XXIII in 1962.
For more information or to support the ICKSP, visit their website https://institute-christ-king.ie/