This short history was obtained from the Placentia Historical Society and is a result of the society's research from the Presentation Archives, Daily Newspaper clippings from 1900 to 1989, interviews with various Presentation Sisters, the Provincial Archives, Placentia Town Research and reports written on various events of Placentia.
Our Lady of the Angels Convent was the fifth convent built for the Irish Presentation Sisters in the mid-nineteenth century by the Roman Catholic Church under the direction of Bishop John T. Mullock. The building's construction was begun in 1858 and was "delayed by a series of poor fishing seasons, and a good deal of sickness..." until 1864. (McCarthy, Michael. A Story of Plaissance Placentia. 1501-1970) This Convent stands today as a monument to its local builders of the 1860's. Located in the Town Square of the beautiful picturesque French Capital of Placentia, Newfoundland, the building consists of local quarry stone and limestone taken from the Fort Frederick Redoubt. The quarry is shown on a map dating 1709 .The magnificent stone structure shows the French Colonial influence in its architectural design.
On August 4, 1864 the Irish Presentation Sisters arrived at Placentia under the direction of Rev. Mother De Sales Condon. (She was one of the first Sisters to come to Newfoundland in 1835.) In 1872 under the direction of Mother M. Joseph O'Dowd the first teacher training school was established outside the Capital City of St. John's, Newfoundland. The first Girl's School can still be seen today for it is the stone building attached to the Convent. This building is now used as music room by St. Edward's School. The Convent building over the years has undergone many renovations, but the exterior structure has stood the test of time .
The Departure of the Presentation Sisters
In August, 1989, the Presentation Sisters left Our Lady of the Angels Convent. This event brought an end to an era of 125 years of education by the Irish Presentation Sisters in Placentia. The grounds that were formerly used as a Prayer Garden and Courtyard for the Convent residents are now used as a playground by the children of St. Edward's School. The chapel which was attached to the Convent in 1907 is now part of Sacred Heart Parish Church.
The annals or diaries of the Irish Presentation Sisters document the lives of the Sisters and the conditions of the Convent building throughout the years. These documents are kept in the Archives of the Presentation Sisters on Military Road, St. John's, Newfoundland. The stone structure remains in Placentia today and is the only stone building in the area.
In Sacred Heart Church, Placentia, one of the stained glass windows is dedicated to the Presentation Sisters. On the Presentation Convent property was erected a Marian Year Grotto in 1954.
Source: Placentia Area Historical Society
Other Readings on this Topic
An Article Written in 1889 - Colourful
History and a Charming Story.
List of all Presentation Sisters who served in the Placentia Area.
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