The Motherhouse's gymnasium is filled with items for sale, from chairs and lamps to paintings and mannequins. (Photo: Kathleen Callahan)

Motherhouse auction to sell religious goods and more

The Sisters of Charity at MSVU are hosting an auction to sell a huge variety of items from their former residence

If your house is lacking an industrial-sized dishwasher or a dentist’s chair, the Motherhouse auction at Mount Saint Vincent University is the place to go.

The Sisters of Charity in Halifax are hosting the auction to sell items for which they have no space and to fundraise at the same time. All proceeds from the auction will go to a fund that supports the sisters’ work both locally and internationally.

The Motherhouse was built in 1959 to accommodate 900 sisters and students. In addition to residence rooms, the building also has a gymnasium, chapel and auditorium. By 2001, however, it was announced the building no longer served the needs of the Sisters. The Motherhouse will be demolished in December.

The sisters recently moved into the Caritas Residence, which was built this summer across from the Motherhouse. Caritas was designed to house 100 retired nuns, administrative offices and additional space for the Congregation’s archives. Because Caritas is significantly smaller than its predecessor, many of the Motherhouse’s furnishings are to be auctioned.

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To see a broad range of the items to be sold at the auction, view this gallery.

“With the new retirement residence for the sisters, a much smaller space, the needs are much less,” says Ruth Jeppesen, the director of communications for the Sisters of Charity.

“The intent is to let go of things that you no longer need. Much of this really hasn’t been used for some years,” she says, pointing to the items filling the gymnasium. “It’s been in storage or it’s been in a museum or it’s been scattered around the building.”

On Thursday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m., the commercial auction is being held. Items to be sold include washers, dryers, tables, chairs, serving trays, cutlery, mattresses, kitchen appliances and much more. The general auction is on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. Some of the items for sale include art, antiques, china, furniture and silver.

Some noteworthy items for sale include a piano, a dentist’s chair, stained glass windows, church pews and a mosaic from the Vatican.

Jeppesen expects a good turnout on Saturday.

“With the general auction, the auctioneers would estimate 150 people. I think we’ll be at least double that,” she says.

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