07/30/2012 10:07 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Sisters close down P.E.I. monastery

The Sisters of the Precious Blood in Charlottetown, suffering from a dwindling number of members, are closing down their monastery.

The monastery was established in 1929. Sister Ilene Mary Walsh has come home to close it for good. Sister Ilene is the general superior for the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Canada. She entered the order more than 50 years ago, and was the last P.E.I. woman to do so, and that's the main part of the problem.

"Like everybody else Precious Blood sisters get old. We just are not able to continue," said Sister Ilene.

"Our main ministry is prayer, but we still have to pay the bills and put food on the table. It takes a certain amount of energy and maybe a little bit of youth."

There are just five nuns left in the Charlottetown monastery. They will find new homes in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

"It's tearing at my heartstrings," said Sister Ilene.

"It's very, very sad. I know it has to be done, but it doesn't make it any easier."

When the nuns move next month their monastery will be given to the neighbouring Sisters of St. Martha on Mt. Edward Road in Charlottetown. That property is also for sale. The Sisters of St. Martha no longer need so large a property, but they intend to stay in a smaller building on the same site.

"There's a definite sadness. There's also pain in the fact that we're not see our friends anymore here on the Island. We're not going to touch lives with these people very much more," said Sister Ilene.

"There's also a deep, deep sense of gratitude. The people of the Island embraced us. They took us into their hearts and they provided for us."

The Sisters will hold a closing mass at St. Dunstan's Basilica in mid August to thank Islanders for their years of support.