154-year-old care home under threat due to nun shortage

A much-loved care home has been forced to close due to a shortage of nuns.

Thursday, 28th September 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 28th September 2017, 2:09 pm
The Little Sisters of the Poor order is trying to find another care provider for the home. Picture: Jayme Emsley

The Little Sisters of the Poor announced yesterday that it is to withdraw from Edinburgh after spending 
154 years looking after the elderly.

The religious order based at St Joseph’s House in Gilmore Place said it is fully committed to finding another care provider for the home, in order to ensure as little disruption as possible to the 48 residents who live there, their families and the staff.

The convent is one of three homes the Sisters have in Scotland - the others in Glasgow and Greenock are both unaffected by the announcement.

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Sister Kathleen Taylor, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, said that both social services and the Care Inspectorate will be informed of the order’s intentions so as to enable them to work closely together at every step of the process “so that there is as little disruption as possible in the day-to-day running of the home and the daily provision of care given”.

She added: “It could take a year before we find the right care provider and prepare for them to take over the running of the home.

“We want to find an organisation with a similar ethos to ours, who will respect your life here and provide you with the highest quality of care, love and respect that you 

The Little Sisters were founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan, a Breton woman who established the order to care for the elderly, having felt the need to care for the many impoverished elderly who lined the streets of French towns and cities.

In the event that a new care provider cannot be found, the Little Sisters said they will fully support the residents and families in sourcing placements in existing care homes run by the Little Sisters or in the local area.

The order said its firm hope, however, is that this will not be necessary.

Three years ago The Little Sisters of the Poor managed to stave off closure of their Wellburn Care Home in Dundee despite a shortage of nuns. On that occasion they accepted an offer from the Diocese of Dunkeld to take over the home.