Highpoint was originally a chapel and convent, set in its
own orchard gardens and is only one mile from Leicester
Formerly St. Catherine's Convent, it was established by four nuns from the English congregation of St. Catherine's of Sienna in the 1920's. The Original purpose of the convent was to be a place of education for local children, however on reaching Leicester (which at that time was know to be the poorest city in Europe) the sisters thought that the elderly were of more need and they decided to build a home for the infirm.
The sisters has six years in which to raise enough money to buy the land and to start building the home for the infirm, which existed in the building adjacent to where Highpoint was constructed first. The original convent was then built and housed a hundred and twelve patients in approximately twenty rooms. At this time the convent also maintained a working farm within the grounds.
The next part of the convent to be added was the chapel, which was built in 1930 and five years later the chapel was linked directly to the convent. Much of the capital needed for this venture was donated by the Laws family. This included the stained glass windows which are still used in the chapel and their family name can be seen inscribed in the beautiful windows.
From a congregation of just four nuns, their numbers rose to twenty two and further increased to forty four. Most of their time was spent caring for the sick within the convent and working in the parish. At this time the sisters were colloquially known as "The Dane Hills Sisters."
In 1995 there were nine nuns left at St. Catherine's, all over the age of fifty eight. The decision was taken by Sister Mary Gabriel to close the convent due to as it was not feasible for the older nuns to move around the convent freely. Four of the sisters stayed and lived in the care home which remained next door. In time this became impractical and finally only two of the original sisters stayed and now live locally continuing their good work in the community.
Highpoint has now been carefully restored and brought into the twenty-first century whilst retaining the original features and charm. The old Library has been carefully restored and still bares the original woodwork. More original features have been preserved in rooms such as the Forum, which was the original chapel and in the Congress which overlooked the chapel.
We hope to retain many of the original ideas from the nuns, by providing a conference and training facility bringing both corporate guests and local communities together.