Church steps in to save Dundee care home

The Little Sisters of the Poor currently run Wellburn Care Home. Picture: Jayne Emsley

The Little Sisters of the Poor currently run Wellburn Care Home. Picture: Jayne Emsley

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A DUNDEE care home which faced closure due to a shortage of nuns to run it has been saved.

The Wellburn Care Home, which was maintained by the Little Sisters of the Poor, was on the brink of closure due to “a shortage of vocations” to their order.

However, following discussions with the Diocese of Dunkeld, a verbal agreement is now in place which will see the diocese take over the running of the home.

The Little Sisters of the Poor have run their mission at the Wellburn Care Home for 152 years. Sister Joseph Christine, mother provincial of the Little Sisters, said on behalf of the congregation she was “delighted” to entrust the future of the home to the diocese.

She said: “The Little Sisters are delighted to be able to entrust the continuation of their essential work to the Diocese of ­Dunkeld.

“We are very happy with the arrangements being negotiated and wish Bishop Stephen [Robson] and the Diocese of Dunkeld God’s blessing in continuing the work of our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan.”

It was announced in October last year that the Little Sisters were unable to continue due to a lack of new younger nuns.

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At the time it was revealed by the order that there were only eight nuns remaining in Dundee, with just two of them under the age of 70.

The Little Sisters of the Poor has seen dwindling membership worldwide, with the number of nuns falling 50 per cent from 4,000 to 2,000 over the last ten years.

If an alternative operator for the Wellburn Care Home had not been found by the early part of this year, the residents would have faced being rehoused.

The Little Sisters have now verbally accepted an offer from the Diocese of Dunkeld to take over the home – the legal and practical side of the transfer will be worked out in the coming months.

Bishop Stephen Robson, on behalf of the Diocese of Dunkeld, said: “The Catholic Church believes that the continued operation of Wellburn will best serve the infirm and elderly and protect their rights, interests and dignity, by continuing the ­loving service and care of those in need.

“I have known the Little ­Sisters since I was a child and have always had a great love and respect for their work.

“We will be happily blessed indeed if we can achieve their level of service and love and dedication.”

The order once boasted a ­famous member within its congregation, Sister Anne Green, who spent six years courageously hiding from the Nazis in a French convent during the Second World War.

She passed away in Dundee nine months after celebrating her 100th birthday in 2013.

Sister Anne was forced to go into hiding to evade capture two years after she entered the order of the Little Sisters of the Poor and at one point she concealed herself in a cart of potatoes to evade discovery by a German patrol while in search of food.

The Little Sisters was founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan and the motherhouse of the order is in Saint-Pern, France.

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