St. Joseph's Convent

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  • Sisters Of Mercy Convent
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St. Joseph's Convent

The Motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy

(former)

605 Stevens Avenue

St. Joseph's Convent, the motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy in Maine, was opened in 1909 and closed in 2006. Part of a complex that included, at various times, St. Joseph's Church, a home for aged women, a hospital, St. Joseph's Academy, and St. Joseph's College, the structure represents the important role of the Catholic women's religious order in Portland and in Maine, and the expansion of its physical presence from the inner city of Portland to the outer city. The motherhouse is a large (four story) and beautiful building, built in the Italian Renaissance style, with a gilded cupola dome topped by a Celtic cross, which can be seen for miles from different vantage points in the city. The chapel, with its ash finish and maple floors, could seat 200 worshipers. The Sisters of Mercy continued to run schools, Mercy Hospital and orphanages in the twentieth century. St. Joseph's College moved to a site on Sebago Lake in Standish. A statue of Mother Catherine McAuley, sculpted by Sister Marie Henderson and installed in 2012, stands on the college campus. With the order declining in numbers by 2000, the large convent building was closed. The remaining nuns moved to several locations, including the Eunice Frye Home, now the Frances Warde Convent, at 37 Capisic Street (site SD07). The current owner envisions converting the property into affordable housing.