The Sisters bought a large property in Upper Riccarton to be their new Mother House and also their novitiate (a special place where young women learn how to be Sisters of Mercy). Villa Maria Convent.

There was a two-storey house on the property which the Sisters made their convent. They named their new home ‘Villa Maria”. The Sisters framed animals and grew vegetables around the convent.

The Sister opened a new school, and used rooms in the convent as classrooms until new classrooms were built. At first the school was just for girls but boys also started to attend Villa Maria College in 1921.

The Sisters had also set up a boarding school so girls could live at Villa Maria school if they lived too far away to travel to every day.

After St Teresa’s School in Riccarton opened, all the boys at Villa Maria College were sent to school at St Teresa’s, and so Villa Maria College became a girls’ only school.

The Sisters of Mercy decided to close the boarding school in 1979 because it had become very old.

Over the years, the number of students at Villa Maria has increased, which has meant that new classrooms have had to be built.