Report - - Poor Clares Convent - Woodchester - Sept 12 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Poor Clares Convent - Woodchester - Sept 12


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28DL Full Member
Visited here a few months back, nice and relaxed visit to this mint site :thumb

A little history......

The Poor Clares, a Franciscan Order founded by St Francis of Assisi and St Clare in 13th century, have been in their Convent at Woodchester since 1860. Although essentially an enclosed and contemplative Order of prayer and meditation, they have undertaken many successful and relevant outreach apostolates in the local area - from running a school and orphanage in the early days, to ‘taking in’ laundry, running Work classes for local mill girls, and as a Guest House for working women. They live by Divine Providence. The community of Enclosed Franciscan Nuns was established by William Leigh in 1860. They resided at Summerwells House next to the Dominican Priory. In the first instance sixteen nuns formed the new foundation but gradually the numbers increased. During the next five years the house was extended as the community grew and in 1869, Charles Hansom designed a beautiful chapel.
They established an orphanage for girls in 1862. This was finally closed in 1927. It is of interest to note, that in the list of nuns and orphans taken from the 1881 Census, there were none from the local area suggesting the rather isolated nature of the community.

Dwindling numbers mean the enclosed order of Poor Clares is moving from South Woodchester to Devon.
Founded by 16 volunteers in a farmhouse in 1860, there was still a full complement of 30 sisters in 1950 but by 1980 there were 25 and by 2000, 14 nuns.
In the last few months there were 5.
The convent had an orphanage until 1921 and was well known for making altar breads, or communion wafers, for more than 200 churches and convents.
Abbess Sister Irene Joseph said moving away was not easy but the convent was too large for the remaining nuns. The group will move to another Poor Clare convent in Lynton.