Our History

The story of the Sanctuary begins with the Foundation of the congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity, by Mary Aikenhead, in 1815.

On 29th January 1819  Mary Aikenhead moved into the old manor house at Stanhope Street to;

  • Establish the first novitiate of the Sisters of Charity
  • Develop St Mary’s Training School and Orphanage
  • Work with the sick & poor in the Grangegorman area and surrounds

In 1987 the Religious Sisters of Charity gave this convent and grounds to Focus Ireland to provide housing for the growing number of people experiencing homelessness in Ireland. It was one way of continuing their work of “giving to the poor, what the rich could buy with money”.

Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, a religious Sister of Charity, is the founder of the Sanctuary. Her vision for the Sanctuary was to provide a reflective contemplative, beautiful place for people in the midst of our frantic busy, world. A place and space where they could be re-energised and nourished in body, mind and soul. In keeping with their vision of helping people to live to their full potential, the Religious Sisters of Charity donated another portion of the old manor house site to the Sanctuary in 1998, for the development of the Sanctuary buildings and gardens.

Since 1998, the Sanctuary has been developing a range of courses and workshops in the area of mindfulness and meditation, yoga and movement, creativity and well-being.  In particular, it has developed a range of programmes working with young people and those who are a vulnerable stage in their lives.

The Sanctuary now has a complete programme of day, evening and weekend courses and workshops from both secular and spiritual perspectives.


To apply the transformative power of STILLNESS to build a more compassionate and resilient society.


Drawing on the wisdom and faith traditions of meditation and mindfulness, together we create a more conscious and compassionate society.

About the Sanctuary Logo

The Sanctuary logo was created in 1999 with colours of deep yellow with a strong orange circle,  illustrating harmony and peace; gentleness and strength; movement and openness; silence and stillness.   Over the years its shape creatively included images of some of the activities that take place in the Sanctuary, each one inviting a response in the exploration and search for stillness of mind and body.

The logo also represents an image of the Sanctuary Garden.