Contacts & Resources
We are called to listen together with compassionate hearts
to the Spirit of God … CG 2018
Union of Presentation Sisters, NL Unit
180 Military Road
PO Box 758, Station C
St. John’s, NL Canada A1C 5L4
The Presentation Motherhouse, completed in 1853 as the first of many Presentation Convents throughout Newfoundland, is now the home of most NL-based Presentation Sisters. It is strongly influenced by the Classical Revival style, including a symmetrical façade, a large tetra-style portico with ionic columns and quoining. The adjoining Presentation School (now the Congregation’s administrative offices) was designed by the same architect who designed the nearby Basilica of St. John the Baptist. This building also is architecturally valuable for its Classical Revival elements: a pediment, quoining and rounded arch windows.
The two buildings were designated as Registered Heritage Structures on 25 September 1999. In addition to its regular residential and community rooms, the Motherhouse has a dedicated floor for Sisters who receive 24-hour nursing care, as well as an architecturally interesting Chapel and an Oratory housing the famed Veiled Virgin sculpture.
The Motherhouse is currently under renovation. The project, begun in late 2022, will continue throughout 2023 and will incorporate modern energy and accessibility features while preserving its historic character.
Please note: Owing to work being done immediately above the main entryway, the Motherhouse will be closed for viewings of the Veiled Virgin from Wednesday, September 27th through Friday, September 29th. Please see the Tours section below for more information.
Where We Are
Newfoundland & Labrador
Current Ministry sites on the Island portion of NL: Western – Barachois Brook and Corner Brook; Central – Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop’s Falls; Eastern – Plate Cove East, Mount Pearl and St. John’s.
While our active ministries in NL are now all on the island portion of the province (Newfoundland), we have previously served in the Labrador portion in Labrador City, Churchill Falls and Davis Inlet.
A map of Where We Have Been may be found on our Ministry Page, HERE.
Sharing our Treasures, Sharing our Space
The Veiled Virgin
The Veiled Virgin is a rare and beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sculpted by the acclaimed Italian artist Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875), some of whose other works are housed in the Vatican Museum. The Virgin’s facial features and braided hair are clearly visible beneath her veil, which appears translucent although it is carved of marble. Her expression has a holy, ethereal quality that blesses many viewers with a deeply spiritual experience, unique and lasting. Learn more about this treasured work of art HERE or on our Happenings Page.
As a general rule, members of the public may view the Veiled Virgin sculpture Monday – Sunday, 10:00am – 12:00 and 1:00 – 4:00pm.
Due to evolving health safety protocols for Motherhouse residents and to the ongoing renovation project, periodic adjustments to the schedule are needed. We encourage you to call Reception (709-753-7291) before visiting to inquire about or to schedule viewings.
Please note: Wednesday, September 27th through Friday, September 29th the Motherhouse will be closed for viewings of the Veiled Virgin , owing to work being done immediately above the main entryway.
VIRTUAL TOURS of Presentation Motherhouse Chapel, Drawing Room and Oratory, are available through the links below.
Because the Presentation Motherhouse is the private residence of more than 35 seniors, in-person tours can be disruptive. In order to share their beautiful historic home with others, the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland & Labrador have engaged in a video project to develop virtual tours of some of the most architecturally, artistically and spiritually significant spaces in the Motherhouse. To enjoy these virtual tours follow the links in the photo captions below:
Our Presentation Sisters NL Archives, located since 1999 in the former Presentation School adjacent to the Presentation Motherhouse, houses a wealth of material that tells our Presentation story, from our beginnings with Nano Nagle in Ireland, to our coming to NL in 1833, up to the present day.
The Presentation NL Archive has been curated by generations of Archivists and Archive staff and volunteers, whose meticulous care has preserved thousands of pages of hand-written correspondence and other valuable historical documents, as well as priceless images and artifacts. We are eternally grateful to them.
On 21 September 2021, the anniversary of the arrival in St. John’s of our four founding Sisters, one of our longest-serving Archivists, Sister Patricia Whittle, passed from this world. Our sadness was lightened somewhat by our deep gratitude for the gift of Patricia’s life and, like the others before her, the gifts she so generously shared in her deep dedication to preserving and sharing our evolving story over so many years.
The first of those amazing women was Mother Agnes O’Keeffe in the 1950s. Though she never held the title, she laid the foundation for those officially following her, including Sisters Mary Teresa Francis Tobin, Mary Concepta Evans, Mary Purcell, Mary Perpetua Kennedy, and Patricia Whittle. Sister Marilyn Doyle was Assistant to Sister Patricia her last two years and was appointed in her place upon Patricia’s death. With the on-going support of employees and volunteers, she, like those before her, continues to help preserve our rich heritage, honouring all our women on whose shoulders we stand.
Click HERE in celebration of all those who have gone before us, in the words of the song, Standing on the Shoulders, by the Songwriter, Joyce Rouse (aka Earth Mama), from the DVD, Love Large.
To enquire about the Archives or its holdings, please contact the Archives staff by email or telephone:
Presentation Sisters NL Archives
180 Military Road
PO Box 758, Station C
St. John’s, NL Canada A1C 5L4
Telephone: 709-753-7291 Ext 341
2022 Archives Team:
Sr Marilyn Doyle, Sr Elizabeth Kennedy & Charlotte Chitamani
Books & Music
Book by Corona Wyse, PBVM
Corona Wyse, PBVM, (1917 – 2021) was born in Placentia, Newfoundland. Educated by the Presentation Sisters, in 1934 she heard the call to join Presentation and serve God in the teaching profession. Over her long career, Sister Corona’s ministries included classroom teaching, Novitiate Formation, Religious Education, and Spiritual Renewal for adults, serving throughout NL as well as In the USA and Dominica. Having lived to a vibrant 103, her insights into Presentation charism remain with us through her tribute to the life and legacy of our foundress.
Not Words but Deeds, named for Foundress Nano Nagle’s family motto, offers a brief history of the Presentation Sisters before and after their arrival in Newfoundland in 1833, as well as an exploration of Nano Nagle‘s personal mission to improve the lives of the Irish people. She pioneered a courageous ministry directed to teach and tend to Ireland’s impoverished citizens, and in 1775 she founded the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the years following her death, the Congregation has carried her love and generosity around the globe.
For copies, please contact:
Flanker Press Ltd., St. John’s, NL
Toll Free: 1.866.739.4420
Order/Sales Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Books by Anita Mansingh, PBVM
About the Author:
Anita Maryam Mansingh is a Presentation Sister from Pakistan, and now a member of the Union of Presentation Sisters NL Canada Unit.
She holds a Master’s in Applied Spirituality from WIT University Ireland. Anita has focused her research on the study of spirituality and her Kutchi Kohli people of Pakistan; her writing explores their history, spiritual lives, and social dynamics. See below for more details about her publications.
Art Dispels the Darkness: A Spirituality of Healing (2020) reflects on the connection between art and spirituality as part of healing and growth. The book emerges from the author’s own life experiences of using poetry and painting to nourish spiritual life and practice soul-care. Anita proposes a process for exploring our individual brokenness and how healing opens new possibilities for spiritual creativity and growth. The poems, paintings and reflections depict the author’s journey through key elements of inner life: awareness, longing, recognition, acceptance and moving beyond. With depth, innocence and curiosity about the self, the other and God, this book invites us to see, feel, think, express and seek healing and transformation.
Exploring Indigenous Spirituality (2021), a deep and enlightening study of the spiritual experience of the Kutchi Kohli Christians of Pakistan, offers a versatile and appealing conceptual framework for studying inner experiences, Anita provides tools for understanding the spiritual journey and relation with the Divine of Indigenous people in the south of Pakistan. Relying on their own narratives, this book gives voice to the Kutchi Kohlis. Exploring their spiritual experience, Anita shows us how Kutchi Kohli Christians have creatively adapted and recreated their own identity in relation to Hinduism and Islam.
Music by Miriam K. Martin, PBVM
Over the years Miriam has given vibrant expression to her life experiences through music as a singer and songwriter. Her songs celebrate her heritage, her family, her friends, her love of God and her experiences as a woman and as a Presentation Sister. Miriam is proud of her Celtic roots East Coast and her upbringing in Nova Scotia.
NOTE: Copies of Miriam’s music books and recordings are limited. We invite you to contact us at email@example.com to enquire about availabiliy. Meanwhile, please enJOY the audio clips below.
Moments in Between (1983) – CDs and some LPs currently available
Our Christianity calls us to celebrate our lives. We celebrate our joys and our sorrows. As a community of Presentation Sisters, we try to live ever deeper the paschal mystery, the dying and rising, as we journey with our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the context for this music we now offer you. Many heats and hands have shared in the completion of these selections. We hope it will touch your experience and that you will celebrate with us all those Moments in Between.
Sing The Greatest Gift
Be My Gift Take Down Your Lantern
Remain in My Love I Heard the Lord
Moments in Between Abbie’s Song
Welcome Woman of Earth
Freedom Song Alleluia
Follow the Flame (1998) – CDs, Cassettes and Books (of associated reflections and musical scores) currently available.
This collection was inspired by a variety of people, events and celebrations over the years. It also reflects Miriam’s background and experience as an East Coast Canadian where the gift of music and song is both a familial and cultural reality. As well, the Presentation Sisters NL community has a long and rich history of fine musicians, teachers and artists. Our communal life helped to shape the spirituality of these selections, which echo the themes of Jubilee echo: reconciliation, homecoming, forgiveness, liberation and joy.
Fire of Love Weaving Song
Blessed Be (Psalm 144) Our Children
Follow the Flame Break Free
Enduring Love My Plans For You
Anointed Are We Celebrate
Go and Tell My People Light For the Journey
Christa Communion Jubilate Jubilate
A New Dreaming (2007) – CDs and Books (of associated reflections and musical scores) currently available.
The music is a collection of dreaming – mine, our community’s, and those who have helped to call out the poetry and melodies from the great Source of creativity. Our desire is that those who would use this music will also touch the hope that fires our lives, feel the lilt in our steps as we journey together for a world where peace, justice and the integrity of all creation are celebrated. If one pathway is opened for one person to draw nearer to God’s great dream for our planet, then a small part of our small dreams will have been accomplished.
Speak the Story God Beyond All Cultures
Fire to the Rock Joy Filled Day
Moments in Between Song of the Eucharist
A New Dreaming Woman of Earth
Freedom We Walk One
Steadfast Love The Universe Story
Listen (2007) – Only CDs currently available.
The recordings on Listen were born of the 2007 International Presentation Association Assembly in India and flowed from the experience of those gathered at The Assembly. The theme of the Assembly was “Listen”.
Listen (short version)
Listen (longer version)