IT was the end of an era for St Mary’s Convent in 2004.

The institution closed its doors after a century of caring for the local community.

And Barrhead bid a fond farewell by staging a day of celebrations.

The closure of the old convent building, which had served as a nursing home for people with learning disabilities, was seen as a sign of the times.

Those who were cared for within the walls of St Mary’s were handed keys to their own houses in the local area during a special ceremony.

Geraldine Garry, who was area manager at the time and worked for the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God, had been busy overseeing the sweeping changes.

The Hospitaller Order had taken over St Mary’s Convent in 2001.

At the time, Geraldine said: “The St Mary’s building did not meet the new national care standards but it has given people who have lived here for up to 44 years the opportunity to have a home of their own.

“Like everyone else, they want their own privacy and to have their own house.”

The closure was finalised on March 31, 2004, with a celebration Mass and thanksgiving to commemorate the momentous occasion.

Staff, along with residents and local dignitaries, came together to reminisce and reflect on the former convent which had touched the lives of many.

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