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Interpretive Centre: East Block, 1886

Priests' Room

St. Joseph's Hospital, Winter, 1999 St. Joseph's Hospital
Winter, 1999
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The Priests' Room sat to the right of the chapel doorway. The Sisters, as a community of women, did not have a priest living at the Convent. It was important, however, that a priest come to offer the morning Mass, the first meeting in the chapel of the day. A Father, as a priest is also known, would come to St. Ann's from St. Joseph's Hospital, across the street, or from St. Andrew's, the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

The Confessional The Confessional
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No food was to be eaten before Mass, so once the service had been finished, the Sisters would prepare breakfast and serve it to the priest, on a buffet in this separate room. He would eat alone, usually eggs and bacon or some other specially prepared meal delivered on a dumb waiter, while a nun waited on him. Then, she would rush to the Refectory, the dining room of the Convent, to catch a piece of toast before her duties began for the day. The Sisters welcomed the changes of Vatican II in the 1960s, and the greater equality it brought to the church organization.

A small set of doorways connected this room to the chapel. This made a tiny room, known as a confessional. A confessional is an enclosed space where people could go to confess any sins or things they felt they had done wrong, to the priest, who would then absolve them in God's Name. A wooden grill separated the penitents from the priest, so that they could speak anonymously. These doors are now used when weddings are held in the chapel for the grooms to enter through. The Priests Breakfast Room is used to house temporary exhibits and serves as a waiting area for the groom and his attendants on wedding days.