Thursday, 22 October 2020 Features


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The history of Kintullagh House

Ballymena Castle was the Irish seat of Sir Frederick Edward Shafto Adair, Bart of Flixton Hall, Suffolk.

The Adair family was of Scottish origin, descended from Ninean Adair of Kinhilt, Wigtownshire, whose son William married, in 1608, a daughter of Sir James Gordon, Baronet of Lockinvar, and migrated to County Antrim – settling in Ballymena.

The Arrival of the Sisters of St Louis

It was on 8 January 1924 – a cold snowy day, according to one of the ‘Founding’  Sisters – that the first four Sisters of St Louis, accompanied by the Mother General and Canon McNamee, from Monaghan, arrived in Ballymena.  They were warmly welcomed by Very Reverend Thomas Canon O’Donnell.


Death of the Convent Founder Member

A last link with the remarkable chain of events which witnessed the transformation of the Young family residence and estate at Kintullagh into Ballymena’s much esteemed St Louis Convent was severed last week with the passing of Sister Mary Finian, who was the last surviving found member of the Ballymena community.

Sisters who lived in Kintullagh House

When I heard the sad news that the St Louis Sisters were leaving Ballymena in August 2005 after over eighty years I talked to Sr Sile Canty to see if there was any record of the names of those who had spent time in the Convent here.  She consulted with the others resident in the house and provided me with the following information.  It is not in date order.

Inside the Convent


St Louis Associates

St Louis Associates are women and men who, on invitation from ‘St Louis’ or from those who are Associates already, or by approach to any St Louis Sister or Associate, desire to share in the founding vision, spirituality and mission of the St Louis Sisters as understood by us today.


In this way, Associates address present-day needs in a contemporary way, together or with the Sisters, as the original founders did in their time.


While Associates are active in intent, they enjoy a rich formation by way of monthly meeting, prayer, exploration, reading, self-development short Retreats in the company of a few of the Sisters and meet with all the Sisters at various function.


There is a ceremony of enrolment/commitment/promise around Trinity Sunday each year for those who will undertake the spirituality, community and mission involved.  This promise is renewed each year as desired.


Present members and those preparing to become members speak of the worth-whileness and personal fulfilment they enjoy from being associated with ‘St Louis’ in this way and would be willing to share with you on this.


If you would like to know more about this group contact 91 Hillhead Crescent Belfast BT11 9FW.


To contact one of the Ballymena Associates ring the Ballymena Parish Office on 028 2564 1515.



Some points to share with those being contacted regarding St Louis Associateship:


  1  No finances involved

  2  Not about religious vocations

  3  Becoming familiar with the story of the Sisters of

St Louis and what we are about today

  4  Sharing in the Spirituality of 

     Sisters of St Louis reading, 

     discussion, deepening of prayer-life,

     sharing on our Christian with one

     another and with a few of the Sisters,      short Retreats together         

 5  Living out of that spirituality and making a difference, individually and together under the influence of

    the Holy Spirit and, where possible, being involved in ministries linked with Sisters of St Louis

 6  A preparation time of monthly meetings (except in very bad weather or during the summer holidays!)

 7  Followed by a commitment of a year at a time

 8  A sense of human support and spiritual companionship

 9  Some attendance at Sisters’ Assemblies by invitation

    eg Ecology Days

10  A strong sense of identity as St Louis Associates.  



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