Our History in the Caribbean

Significant Events of the First Century

1836 St Joseph's Convent was founded in the city of Port of Spain.
1838 Rev. Mother Scholastica replaced Mother Marie de la Croix.

Epidemic of Yellow Fever:  M. l'Abbe Amiee, the Convent Chaplain, died.

1842 First Reception of Novices and Religious Profession took place at the Convent.
1843 Dr. McDonnell sent a Precious ring to Our Venerable Mother Foundress.
1844 Death of Dr. McDonnell, Bishop of Olympus.
1846 The inner Chapel of the Convent was completed; the architect of the building, as well as the outer Chapel being Mr. Gabriel de la Sauvagere, Sister Vincent Ferrier's grand-father.
1847 Six Novices received the religious habit from Dr. Smith.  The nuns were first placed in St. Lucia.
1848 Foundation in Roseau, Dominica.
1850 A Great Fire in Port of Spain caused consternation at the Convent.
1851 Death of our Venerable Mother Foundress, the 15th July, at the Motherhouse of the Congregation, Paris.

Most Rev. Dr. Smith installed as Archbishop of Port of Spain.

1852 Death of His Excellency, The Most Rev. Dr. Smith.

Rev. Mother Scholastica is succeeded by Rev. Mother Seraphine.

1853 Epidemic of Yellow Fever broke out.

Day pupils received for the first time at the Convent.

Arrival of His Excellency Dr. Spaecapietra from St. Thomas.

1854 Foundation in Castries, St. Lucia.
1856 Mother Teresa Patterson was sent to our Convent in St. Vincent.
1859 Rev. Mother Louise Wright, a Trinidadian succeeded Rev. Mother Seraphine.

Departure of His Excellency, the Most Rev. Dr. Spaccapietra

Departure from St. Vincent.

1860 Bishop Etheridge of Demerara became Provisional Administrator of the Archdiocese.

New elementary school opened by the Nuns, on the site of St. George's College.


Arrival of Archbishop English.

1862 Death of His Excellency, Archbishop English.
1863 Mother Gonzague was named superior.

The Fathers of the Holy Ghost arrived in Trinidad.

1864 Foundation in Soufriere, St. Lucia.

Arrival of His Excellency, Dr. Gonin, and the Dominican Fathers.

1866 Mother Teresa Patterson was sent to our house in the island of St. Thomas.

Transfer of the Elementary School to Providence.

1867 Blessing of St. Mary's College (Holy Ghost Fathers).
1868 The Dominican Nuns arrived in Trinidad.

Very Rev. Mother General Rosalie died.

1869 A dreadful epidemic of yellow fever carried away two Dominican Fathers, two Brothers from St. Mary's College,  one of our Sisters, and nine Dominican nuns.
1870 A Convent opened at Diego Martin

Foundation in St. Joseph, Trinidad.

1871 Purchase of the ground for Providence School.
1873 Solemn Opening of the Convent at St. Joseph.

Year of Little Flower's birth, St. Therese is the Patroness of the St. Joseph's Convent Schools.

1874 Fr. O'Carroll, O.P, consecrated Bishop, Coadjutor to Archbishop Gonin.
1875 Foundation of St. George's, Grenada.
1880 Bishop O'Carroll died.

Rev. Mother Gonzague died at Barbados.

1881 Another epidemic of yellow fever broke out:  Dominican Fathers and our Sisters were attacked by it.
1882 The Convent at San Fernando opened.
1883 The Catechism first taught in English at the Convent.
1884 The Very Rev. Mother Marie de Jesus, Fourth Superior General, died.
1885 Convent at Arima founded.
1886 GOLDEN JUBILEE of the Convent.
1887 Two new Schools opened:  Newtown and the Sacred Heart School.
1889 Death of Archbishop Gonin.

Archbishop Flood succeeds him.

1890 Boys' School opened.

Buildings at External side completed.

A Convent opened at San Raphael.

1891 The inmates of the Convent greatly alarmed by the outbreak of two fires in the City.
1892 Arouca convent founded.

Foundation in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia

1894 An outbreak of yellow fever, which caused the death of the Superioress of the Convent and three other nuns in the Port of Spain House.
1895 The Training School opened.
1896 Diamond Jubilee of St. Joseph's Convent.
1897 Centenary of British Rule in Trinidad.
1898 Foundation at Gros Islet, St. Lucia.
1900 Opening of the New Century, by Celebration of Midnight Mass at the Convent.
1902 Terrible eruption o f Mt. Pelee in Martinique: thirty-three of our Sisters perished in the disaster.
1903 Death of Our Holy Father Pope Leo XIII.  Accession of Pope Pius X.
1906 Great earthquake at St. Lucia:  The Convent Chapel very seriously damaged.
1907 Centenary Hall completed..  It received its name from the fact of the Congregation being one hundred years in existence.

Our Venerable Archbishop Flood died.

Very Rev. Superior General Mother Basil, died.

Yellow fever again made its appearance: one sister died from it.

1908 Two of our Sisters died from yellow fever.
1909 His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Dowling entered Port of Spain as its Archbishop.
1910 The Very Reverend Mother St. Othilde came to the Convent as Visitator.
1911 Ruby Jubilee of the Convent.
1912 The Benedictines arrived in Trinidad.
1913 The Golden Jubilee of St. Mary's College.
1914 Outbreak of the Great War.
1916 The celebrated "Easter Week" in Ireland causes anxiety to Irish People in Trinidad, a number of these being inmates of the Convent.
1918 Death of the Mother General, Very Rev. Mother St. Lutegarde.

Golden Jubilee of the Dominican Nuns.

1920 Rev. Mother Andrew assumes charge as Principal of the Convent.
1927 Several changes in the distribution of the convent classroooms; the wall between the Convent proper and Centenary grounds demolished.
1928 Re-opening of the Novitiate at Port of Spain, which had been closed some years.
1930 Change of Superiors at the Convent.  Rev. Mother Gertrude replaced Mother Andrew.
1931 His Grace the Archbishop prescribed public prayers to avert the scourge of divorce from the land of the Trinity.
1932 Death of Sister Amable.

Erection of New Domestic kitchen.

1933 Completion and blessing of New Wing, on the South side of the Convent.
1935 Completion of the new Convent at San Fernando; blessing by His Grace the Archbishop.

Completion and blessing of Arouca, due to the exertions of the Very Rev. Jeremiah Maher, P.P.

1936 The Convent celebrations of the hundreth anniversary of the nuns in Trinidad.

The Second Century begins



Mother Gabriel Mary Gallagher arrived from Ireland as Provincial Superior.  Centenary Celebrations for the arrival of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny were held in Port of Spain.
1938 St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters go to St. Theresa's Intermediate School, Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

St. Gabriel's R.C Primary School, named after Mother Gabriel, transfers to new building on Lord St., San Fernando.

1941 January:   Sisters go to re-open Mission in St. Vincent and live in rented house

Sisters go to new Mucurapo R.C Primary School, Port of Spain.

1942 Blessing of new Convent, Arouca, as a holiday house.

New Arima Girls' R.C School constructed and blessed.  Private School occupies vacated premises in Convent.

April:   Foundation of Convent in Scarborough, Tobago.  Sisters take charge of R.C Primary School, as Principal and Assistant Teachers.

September:   Sisters assume Principalship of St. Mary's R.C. School, Kingstown, St. Vincent.

1943 Sisters open Fatima High School in Curepe, Trinidad.
1944 May 24th:   Disastrous fire consumed St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain.  Four Sisters perished in the conflagration.

May 25th:   Funeral Service in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  P.O.S Dignataries followed the funeral procession and crowds lined the streets to Lapeyrouse Cemetary. 

Novitiate transferred to Arouca as a consequence of fire.

1945 July 29th:   Laying of corner-stone of new chapel in Pembroke St., Port of Spain, by Archbishop Finbar Ryan.
1946 January:   New Secondary School completed and opened, blessed by Archbishop Finbar Ryan.
1947 Private Secondary School opened in Kingstown, St. Vincent.

March 23rd:   Blessing of new Chapel in Port of Spain by Archbishop Ryan.

March 24th:   First ceremony of Final Vows and Religious Profession of Sisters took place in new Chapel.

March 27th:   Mother Gabriel Mary left Trinidad for Mother House, Paris, where she was elected General Councillor.

March 28th:   Rev. Mother Raphael Glynn succeeded her as Provincial Superior.

January:   Transfer of St. Theresa's Intermediate School, Woodbrook, to Sisters of the Holy Faith, newly arrived in Trinidad.

1948 First Girls' Scholarship won by Corinna Achong of St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain.
1950 October 10th:   Day of special rejoicing.  Beatification of Anne Marie Javouhey, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.  Sisters from the West Indies were present at the ceremony and were favoured with a special audience by Pope Pius XII in Castelgondolfo.
1952 Rev. Mother Raphael Glynn was awarded a special Coronation Medal for her services to Education in Trinidad & Tobago.
1953 Sr. Florence Kernahan, Principal of the Catholic Women's Training College, received the Order M.B.E for her work in Education.

September:   A new Convent and Secondary School for Girls was opened in Grenville Grenada.

1954 Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny celebrated the Centenary of their arrival in Castries, St. Lucia.
1955 Sr. Francis Xavier Urich became the first Trinidadian Principal of St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain.

Hurricane "Janet" devastated Grenada.  The Sisters were not injured, nor were their Schools or Convents damaged. Deo Gratias!

1956 St. George's in Grenada raised to the rank of a Bishopric.
1957 The first Bishop of St. George's - Bishop Justin Fields, was ordained in the Cathedral.
1959 August 30th:   Great Fire of Castries destroyed the Convent and School in St. Lucia.  The Sisters moved up to a Government house on the Morne outside the city.
1962 First Session of Vatican II Council in Rome.  Promulgation of the Documents of Vatican II set in motion important and far-reaching changes in the Church.

Trinidad & Tobago granted Independence.

1963 Sr. Helen de Verteuil received the Order M.B.E. for her work in Music and Singing in Trinidad & Tobago.

June 9th:   Rev. Mother Raphael Glynn handed over the guidance of the Province to Sr. Francis Xavier Urich, the first Trinidadian Provincial Superior.

August:   Blessing of new Convent and School in Torrecilla, Arima, by Archbishop Ryan.

August:   Mother Raphael Glynn left for the Mother House, Paris.

September 30th:   Hurricane "Flora" devastated Tobago.  Sisters' Convent damaged but speedily repaired.

Purchase of property opposite the Convent in Abercromby Street for Maria Regina Grade School.

1964 "Maria Regina" Grade School blessed and formally opened.  Amalgamation of SJC Junior School with "Mother Lydia's Boys' School".
1965 St. Andrew's Girls' School opened in Grenville, Grenada.  Sisters assume Principalship.

December:   Papal Bull declares that Vatican II Council is completed.

Blessing of new Mucurapo Girls' R.C School constructed through efforts of Sr. Gabriel Gaston-Johnston.

1966 The Boarding School of St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain was closed.
1967 St. Xavier's Private School founded in St. Joseph.

New Convent and Secondary School blessed in Scarborough, Tobago by Bishop Fitzgerald.

Official establishment of 'province of the West Indies' after General Chapter.

1968 March 19th:   Ordination of first Trinidadian Archbishop of Port of Spain, Right Reverend Anthony Pantin.

In Mesopotamia, St. Vincent, the Sisters undertook the administration of Marriaqua Secondary School.  They lived in a rented house.

1969 Marriaqua Secondary School blessed by Bishop Fields who died shortly afterwards.  He was succeeded by Bishop Webster, OSB.

Ceremony of Final Profession held for the first time in Sangre Grande Parish - Sr. Annette Chow.

1970 Affiliation ceremony of first affiliate members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny in the Province.

Independence of Grenada amid protest and unrest under the leader Gairy.

St. Joseph's Convent, St. Joseph, celebrated the Centenary of their foundation.

1971 The new convent in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, was blessed by Bishop Gachet.

Bishop Anthony Dickson was consecrated Bishop of Bridgetown-Kingstown.

1972 Ceremony of Final Profession held for the first time in St. George's Cathedral - Sr. Gabrielle Mason, Munich, Grenada.

Blessing of new secondary school, Providence, Belmont, Trinidad.

Sr. Francis Xavier Urich receives the national award "Trinity Gold Medal" for her work in education.

1973 Ceremony of Final Profession in Church of St. Andrew, Grenville, for the first time - Sr. Jean Carriman and Sr. Ann Keens Douglas, both of Grenville, Grenada.

July:   First resident Sisters move up to Providence Convent, Port of Spain.

Ceremony of Final Profession held for the first time in Cathedral of Roseau, Dominica - Sr. Sylvia Toulon, Anse-de-Mai, Dominica.

New Convent in Mesopotamia, St. Vincent, blessed by Bishop Anthony Dickson.

1974 The Provincialate is transferred from St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain, to Providence Convent, Belmont, when Sr. Francis Xavier Urich, Provincial, joined the commumity.

January:   The National Chaconia Medal is awarded to Sr. Francis Xavier for her services in Education.

Closing of Gros Islet, St. Lucia.

1975 January:   Reverend Mother Rene VAndame, Superior General of the Congregation and Sister Enda Hanley, Councillor General, visit the Province.

St. George's, Grenada rejoiced to welcome them to participate in the festivities for their Centenary in that Island.

July:   Blessing of new holiday house and Youth Centre in Cumana, Toco.

Sr. Pius O'Callaghan returned from Ireland to celebrate her Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession.

Bishop Sydney Charles was ordained Bishop of St. George's, Grenada.

Conferring of Papal Medal BENE MERENTI for outstanding service to the Church on Sr. Berchmans Wilson, in Grenada Cathedral.

September:   Catholic Women's Training College occupies buildings vacated in Torrecilla.

December:   Sr. Ruth Montrichard joins "SERVOL".

1977 Ceremony of Final Profession held for the first time in the Parish Church of Portsmouth, Dominica - Sr. Patricia Ann Douglas.

January 24th:   Tragic death of Sr. Celine Cesair, by car accident in Arouca, Trinidad.

May 8th:   Tragic death of Sr. Francis Theresa in the village of Grace, St. Lucia.

December 30th:   Arrival of Monsignor Paul Tabet, Pro-Nuncio designate to the Antilles, to reside at Providence Convent while finalising arrangements.

1978 Foundation of new community of Our Lady of Lourdes, Maraval, Port of Spain, with seven members with individual apostolates.

Establishment of Diplomatic ties between the Holy See and Trinidad & Tobago.  The Apostolic Nunciaure is set up in Providence Convent, temporarily.

1978 Last public Mass celebrated in the Convent Chapel, St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain.

First Mass and Blessing of renovated Convent quarters in Centenary Hall, Port of Spain.

April: Eruption of Soufriere Volcano, St. Vincent.  Refugee camps set up in Schools at Kingstown and Mesopotamia and Sisters minister to people's needs.

Foundation of Inter-Congregational Project at Delaford, Tobago, with Sr. Philip Geofroy on the team.

October:   St. Vincent and Grenadines obtain Independence.

1980 Amalgamation of St. Joseph's Convent, Grenville and Llwanga College into single co-ed school with Sr. Genevieve Baptiste as Principal.

Blessing of renovated college building as St. Joseph's Convent, a residence for the Sisters.

April:  Sr. Francis Xavier Urich finishes her term of office as Provincial and is succeeded by Sr. Regina Leiba.  The farewell and handing over ceremony is held in St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain.

Hurricane "Allen" damages St. Joseph's Convent in Castries and Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.

September:  The Apostolic Nunciature moved to St. Clair, Port of Spain.  Srs. Emeria Grace and Anna O'Reilly also move to the Nunciature.

July:  St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters withdraw from Delaford Project after 2-year engagement completed.

Withdrawal from Soufriere, St. Lucia.

Archbishop Kelvin Felix is ordained Archbishop of Castries, St. Lucia.

1981 31st August:   Gold Medal of Merit of the Order of the Trinity conferred on Sr. Aloysius Ashby, Principal of the Catholic Women's Teacher Training College, for her work in Education.
1982 San Fernando Community celebrates the centenary of its foundation.

July:  CWTC closes in Torrecilla, Arima, after 97 years of service to Catholic Teachers in training in Trinidad.

September:   Sisters take over administration of St. David's Secondary Co-Ed. School in Grenada with Sr. Paul Sellier as Principal.  They reside in a small bungalow nearby.

October:   St. Xavier's new Preparatory School is blessed by Archbishop Pantin at St. Joseph, Trinidad.

Sr. Annette Chow begins to work full time in New Image of the Parish (Better World Movement)

1983 Blessing by Archbishop Pantin of 'Emmaus Centre', Arima, former CWTC and St. Joseph's Convent High School.  It is a House of Prayer and Retreat - Sr. Rosa Pantin is directress.

October 19th:   Massacre in Grenada of Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop and some Cabinet Ministers.

October 23rd:   Intervention by American and Caribbean Peace-keeping forces and arrest of offenders

1984 Blessing of new Convent in Castries, St. Lucia, by Archbishop Kelvin Felix.  Secondary school occupies vacated convent buildings.

June:   Foundation of "NEWLO" (New Life Organisation) in Grenada for under-privileged youth with Sr. Reina Loe as Executive Director.

New Constitutions of the Congregation approved by Rome and distributed to Sisters of the Province.

October:  Farewell function for Archbishop Paul Tabet on his appointment as Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, after seven years in Trinidad.

1985 February 5th:   Pope John Paul II visited Trinidad.

March 19th:  Conferring of Papal Medal "BENE MERENTI" for outstanding service to the Church, on Sr. Francis Xavier Urich on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of her Religious Profession.

Welcome function for new Apostolic Pro Nuncio to the Antilles, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, in Providence Convent.

June: Srs. Emeria Grace and Enda Mac Namara go out to Nigeria to join Nunciature Staff in Lagos, Nigeria.

September: Conferring of Papal Medal "BENE MERENTI" for outstanding service to the Church in St. Lucia, on Sr. Veronica Condron, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession.

Sr. Veronica Condron receives the award MBE.

September:  Mrs Thomasine Elie is the first lay principal appointed at St. Joseph's Convent, St. Joseph.

1986 January 29th:   Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the coming of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny to the English-speaking West Indies.

August:  Establishment of Intercongregation Pastoral Project for the Moruga Parish.  (Clunies:  Sr. Ivy Pacheco and Sr. Barabara Soondar; Holy Faith: Sr Evangelista).

August:  Sisters begin Retreat work at Mt. St. Ervan, Grenada.

September:  Sr. Jerome Boland founded the "Cluny Senior Citizens Centre" in San Fernando.

September:  Sr. Genevieve Baptiste appointed Youth Co-ordinator of Grenada.

1989 Sr. Rosemary Carvalho appointed Youth Co-ordinator in Trinidad & Tobago.

Withdrawal from St. David's Secondary School, Grenada.

Sr. Myriam Walsh, having retired from government service, appointed Principal of St. Joseph's College - secondary school managed by the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.

1990 Sr. Theresa Corbie appointed Directress of Catechetical Institute in Castries.

Sr. Catherine Monteil receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

Sr. Maria Mc Gill receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

1991 Sr. Paul D'Ornellas received the award 'Medal of Merit, Gold' for her work in Education.

October:  Sr. Paul D'Ornellas founded the Foundation for Human Development.

1992 April:  Sr. Regina Leiba's term of office ends, Sr. Anne Marie Rodriguez appointed Provincial.  Provincial Assembly.

August:  Blessing of new house in Kingstown.

December:  Withdrawal from Moruga.

Sr. Mel Kenny receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

Sr. Regina Leiba receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

Sr. Regina Leiba receives the national award "Medal of Merit" - Gold, for her work in education.

1993 July:  St. Joseph's Convent Secondary School, Grenville, Grenada, celebrates its 40th anniversary.

August:  New foundation of Portsmouth, Dominica.  Founding community - Srs Regina Leiba, Theodore Winter and Rochelle Elva.

Sr. Claire Joseph receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

1994 July:  St. Joseph's Convent School, Castries, St. Lucia, celebrates its 140th Anniversary.

August:  Sr. Gertrude Tang Kai is assigned to the founding community of the Philippines.

October:  Sr. Annette Chow appointed full time assistant to the parish priest of the Toco-Matelot Pastoral area.

Withdrawal from NEWLO, Grenada.

December:  Withdrawal from St. Louis R.C. School, St. George's.

Sr. Myriam Walsh retired from the Principalship of St. Joseph's College.

1995 February:  Sr. Reina Loe opens the Centre where Adolescents learn to Love and Serve (CALLS) in Portsmouth, Dominica.

September:  Sr. Mary Patrice Simmons joins the Staff of the Bible Institute.

September:  St. Joseph's Convent Secondary School, St. Joseph, Trinidad, celebrates its 140th Anniversary.

Sr. Francis Xavier Urich receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

Sr. Theodore Winter receives the papal award "Bene Merenti".

1996 August:  Sr. Odette Wharfe becomes a therapist at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre, Mt. St. Benedict.

October:  Sr. Regin Leiba founds the CARE Project for the Aged in Portsmouth and surroundings.

November:  Providence Secondary School celebrates its 130th Anniversary.

Srs. Anna O'Reilly and Emeria Grace receive the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

1997 January:  St. Joseph's Convent Secondary School, Kingstown, St. Vincent, celebrates its 50th Annivarsary.

St. Mary's R.C Primary School, Kingstown, celebrates its 60th Anniversary.

1998 January:  Withdrawal from Mt. St. Ervan Retreat Centre, Grenada.

Sr. Claire Joseph receives the St. Lucia national award "Les Pitons Gold Medal" for her work in education.

1999 April:  Provincial Assembly at Emmaus Centre.

October:  Sr. Bernard Ng Fan assigned as secretary in the Motherhouse.

July:  Withdrawal from Sacred Heart Montessori School.

31 October:  Withdrawal from Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.

Sr. Theresa Egan receives the award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

2000 January:  Sr. Jerome Boland appointed Principal of Rosa Mystica Pre-School - a school managed by the Carmelite Sisters.

March:  Archbishop Anthony Pantin, Archbishop of Port of Spain, first native bishop, died suddenly.

St. George's, Grenada, celebrates the 125th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Sisters, and the foundation of the secondary school.

October:  Opening of Student's Hostel, St Augustine.  Sr. Christina Ali is the manageress.

Sr. Marguerite Shanagher receives the papal award "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

31 December:  Attack on worshippers at 6.00 a.m Mass at the Cathedral in Castries, St. Lucia.  Sr. Theresa Egan was killed and Sr. Mel Kenny suffered minor injuries.

2001 Bishop Edward Gilbert, Bishop of Roseau, Dominica, appointed Archbishop of Port of Spain.

Sr. Gabrielle Mason receives the Grenada Independence Award for her work in education.