A Sorry Presentation (Convent)

Taken as best possible, under the circumstances, so as to avoid impaling myself on a fence, getting wires in the photo or including the half-demolished school to the right.

If ever there was a candidate in Placentia for the title “Building at Risk,” it’s this convent. I posted an entry a while ago about Ridley Hall, which made the Newfoundland Historic Trust‘s list of Buildings at Risk 2012. The Presentation Convent of Our Lady of the Angels, adjoining Sacred Heart Church, n rough shape. Built in 1864, it is now disused and boarded up, the foundations are starting to crumble and the masonry is giving in spots. While we were there, they were tearing down St. Edward’s School, next door, which added a sense of foreshadowing to the whole area.

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The Presentation Nuns and Franciscan monks. The earliest religious house in Plaisance (as Placentia was called when the French occupied it) was Notre Dame des Anges, established in the late seventeenth century by the Récollet friars. (I wrote a (rather long) master's thesis on the religious life of Plaisance about ten years ago.)

The main church is still in lovely shape, though, and was open to the public (without a soul inside) due to it being Lent. And the fact that churches around the bay are more likely than not to actually be open on a given day, regardless of who’s around. I took a few photos, but it was an odd church, laid out sideways, and I didn’t have my tripod with me to get the full effect.

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Not the greatest of photos, but you can see how the pews and altar have been rearranged.

Yes, sideways. You enter through what would have been the great west doors and straight ahead of you is the east end of the church, where usually you’d find an altar with pews on either side of a main row. This congregation had rearranged the traditional layout so that the altar was on the left-hand side and the rows arced around it, pulling the congregation closer together. According to a parishioner who happened in while we were there, it was rearranged at some point when the building was extended. Possibly because the acoustics weren’t great with the larger building? Who knows.

At any rate, it would be lovely to see something done soon with the convent. Such marvelous care has gone into the main church that it’s sad to see the convent falling into ruin.


One Comment Add yours

  1. eyeonwales says:

    Certainly agree with all of those sentiments – a building crying out for support!

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