Rossbrook House Roots

DYK? Rossbrook House began at 588 Ross Avenue, several houses down from its current location. The Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary moved there in 1974. Sisters Geraldine MacNamara, Marylyn Gibney, and Lesley Sacouman had a small pool table in the basement. The only other pool table in the neighborhood was at Freight House and was in poor condition.

How it all began…

After an invitation for a couple of neighborhood teens to play pool and have a meal, soon regular groups of up to 40 youth were cramming into the basement. Sister Gerry would ask them to leave at 11pm and once again they found themselves looking for a place to hang out. Needing a space for the youth in the area that could be open when they needed it the most, an opportunity arose to use the empty church on the corner of Ross and Sherbrook. On January 20, 1976, the drop-in centre officially opened. Sister Marylyn suggested the name using the location, creating the name Rossbrook House.

The House

The Sisters remained in 588 even after Sister Gerry’s death in 1984. Other Sisters came and went until they moved into other residences in St Boniface. Sister Lesley is the Executive Director of Holy Names House of Peace. Sister Marylyn retired from St Mary’s Academy after 30 years and serves on the alumnae board.

After their move, the house at 588 Ross, with all its wonderful memories and special meaning, was gifted to Rossbrook House. With costly upgrades needed and concerns about the house remaining empty, 588 was recently sold. We look forward to seeing it revitalized and brimming with life once again and hopefully many more happy memories!

Read more about Sister Gerry here.