The SISTER EVELEEN
RETREAT HOUSE Story
Our retreat house was built in the early 1920’s and was later named after Sister Constance Eveleen Barklie. Sister Eveleen lived there from 1930 until her death in 1939. She had moved out to Sumner after being diagnosed with tuberculosis, continuing her vocation in the seclusion of Sumner. Here she conducted retreats and Sunday School and held services for the local community. When she died in 1939, she bequeathed her house to the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch.
A committee was formed to run the retreat and an annex was built to meet the demand. But with little money for maintenance, the property began to deteriorate. Fortunately in 1986, the Anglican Church decided to renovate the house and open it up to the wider community. With the help of many local residents the house was extensively renovated and used to host retreats for people coming to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the house.
But, in February of 2011 the Christchurch Earthquake substantially damaged our retreat house. The damage was primarily in the foundations and retaining walls. With no vehicular access it had been a long road to restoration, however, in 2019 the major works were completed, leaving the house, chapel and annex ready to resume their role in providing peace and tranquility.