The Gathering Place and Mercy Convent

The Gathering Place was opened in 1994 in the former Mercy School as a place where disadvantaged people from the city can find  somewhere to socialize, have health needs tended to, do laundry, get a hot meal and find welcome in a non-judgemental atmosphere. Professional counselling re finances and housing and assistance with life skills is available.

The Gathering Place

With the advent of Covid the need for some of our homeless population to have a bed for the night was recognized.  The Auditorium of the former school was fitted with 30 cots as a temporary measure to provide shelter overnight.

The building attached to The Gathering Place, was the site of the first Sisters of Mercy Convent on this side of the Atlantic.   It was home to 6 Sisters of Mercy in the year 2020 when the realization came to the Sisters of Mercy that more space and services were needed for the homeless in our city. It was decided to turn over the Convent to The Gathering Place and plans were set in motion with the Provincial and Federal Government to renovate the Convent for its future use.  The community of sisters living there at the time were pleased to seek other accommodations as they knew that their founder Catherine McAuley would be happy with the intended future use of the Convent.

The Convent was stripped down to its retaining walls and pillars, showing the magnificent carpentry and stone-work of the 1850s.  Beds for

Mercy Convent St Johns

60 overnight guests plus short-term one-bedroom accommodations are included in the project.  Guests of the shelter, O’Callaghan Manor, and the transition housing, Mercy House, can receive three meals a day and avail of other important services available in the adjoining building of The Gathering Place.

The historic and beautiful chapel will remain intact and will provide a “sacred space” for programs and for contemplative space for the guests of The Gathering Place.

To be able to serve God’s poor through this former school and Convent is a gift for the city of St. John’s and surrounding area, especially those most in need.  Such a project is near and dear to the Sisters of Mercy and so many people of faith and goodness.   Opportunities for the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to be lived out in this space is a blessing.