Tag Archives: Belvedere

Cemeteries in St. John’s


July 3, 1859

Angel writing in the book of life.

Angel writing in the book of life.

On July 3, 1859  Bishop John Thomas Mullock, the Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland consecrated Mount Carmel Cemetery, located near Quidi Vidi Lake. Bishop Mullock wrote in his diary on this day:

“ Today I consecrated the cemetery at Quidi Vidi. Thousands were present. The weather awfully hot.  Temperature 84 degrees in the shade.”

All churches at the time had their eye on land “on the outskirts of the town  that could be developed into cemeteries.

In July 1849 Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming purchased ten acres of land adjoining John Dowsley’s property on the road to Bally Haly Farm, at the top of Kennas Hill, for the purpose of a cemetery. He joined the two lots and made one large burial ground known as Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Tradition has it that Mount Carmel was “the fishermen’s cemetery” as opposed to Belvedere Cemetery (on Bonaventure Ave. and Newtown Road). Belvedere was traditionally seen as the cemetery for the more well to do citizens and only “available to those that purchased sites.”

Up to the year 1849 all burials for all denominations were made in the town’s cemeteries.  The Roman Catholic’s buried their dead in the Long’s Hill Cemetery located on what is now the site near the parking lot of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (The Kirk), on Long’s Hill, St. John’s.

Unfortunately the internments records for the Long’s Hill Cemetery were lost in the Great Fire 1846.

The Church of England Cemetery  was in the church yard of the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist which borders on Duckworth Street, Church Hill, Cathedral Street and Gower Street. It is estimated that there are about 6000 people buried there.

The Wesleyan Cemetery was on the corner of Gower and Queen’s Road.

Many of the internment records for Mount Carmel cemetery – ‘the fishermen’s cemetery’ have survived – some were lost or damaged but in the 1980’s the cemetery was reconstructed using information recorded on the headstones that were erected by individual families.

Today Mount Carmel cemetery is closed to internments, with some exceptions being made for families with existing plots.



Recommended Archival Collection:  All of the churches have established archives that hold detailed records that will help you locate the grave site of a loved one buried in the cemeteries in this province.

Wrapped in prayer to the end


5 December, 1893

Bishop Thomas Power died on December 4, 1893.

The population of the Colony of Newfoundland was informed through the pages of the local newspapers (December 5, 1893) that Bishop Thomas Joseph Power, 23 years Roman Catholic Bishop of St. John’shad died.

The St. John’s newspaper, The Evening Herald reported:

 “The Bishop’s death  (December 4, 1893) has been a sudden shock.  In apparent good health on Saturday, he is lying cold and silent in death on Monday evening.  A sharp attack of pneumonia brought on the end.”

Power’s significance lies almost entirely in the ecclesiastical field.

In 1875 the bishop brought the Irish Christian Brothers to Newfoundlandand placed them in charge of St Bonaventure’s College and the schools of the Benevolent Irish Society. Under his episcopate the religious congregations of the Sisters of Mercy and Presentation Sisters expanded and were introduced to parishes outside St John’s. During his episcopate the cathedral (now a Basilica) in St John’s, the demonstrable presence of Roman Catholicism in the island, was renovated; a monastery for the Christian Brothers, Mount St Francis, erected; and two orphanages, Belvedere for girls and Villa Nova for boys, as well as many churches and schools, built.

The Evening Herald report on the death of Bishop Power concluded:

Having received holy Viaticum, Bishop Power extended his hand and bade goodbye to his confessor, Reverend J. Walsh of Portugal Cove.  He then closed his eyes and remained wrapped in prayer to the end.  For hours the nuns, brothers, and priests knelt by his bedside, sprinkling his couch with blessed water and reciting the rosaries and litanies for the departing soul.  At last, after a long interval, came the final respiration, and even as the prayers of the Sisters, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” – were softly whispered in his ear, just as the hand of Father John Scott was raised in the last Absolution, a heavenly calm came over his features and the spark of life slowly went out and the soul of Thomas Joseph, Sixth Bishop of St. John’s, was safe  in the arms of his Heavenly Master.

(They just don’t write obitituaries like that any more!)

Bishop Power might however not be happy with his place of burial. He was buried in the crypt under the altar of the Basilica Cathedral.  It was his stated wish that:

 “my body be buried in St. Patrick’s Church, River Head  (Patrick Street) in front of the Convent Choir & opposite a side altar to be erected in honor of the great Patriarch St. Joseph.”

 Recommended Archival Collection: Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese ofSt. John’s.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography:  http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=40496

Mercy Sisters Open Their First School in the New World


May 1, 1843

Mercy Convent, Military Road, St. John's, NL.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy was founded in Dublin, Ireland by Catherine McAuley on December 12, 1831.

At the request of Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming of St. John’s, Newfoundland three Irish women Frances Creedon, Ursula Frayne, and Rose Lynch began their Atlantic crossing on the Sir Walter Scott to begin working as missionaries in Newfoundland.

They arrived in St. John’s on June 3, 1842. With no convent ready they  took accommodations at Belvedere, Bishop Fleming’s residence.  (The street is now known as Margaret’s Place – off Newtown Road. Belvedere is the buidling  nearest to the MCP Building that was  the old  Belvedere Orphanage.)

During the first eleven months of the new mission, the Sisters of Mercy visited the sick and the poor in their homes. On December 12, 1842, the Sisters moved from their temporary home to their new convent on Military Road. This was the first Mercy Convent in the New World.

On May 1, 1843, Our Lady of Mercy School, Military Road, was formally opened. From this nucleus, other convents were opened throughout the province.

Through the years the Sisters of Mercy were engaged primarily in the teaching and nursing professions. In recent years their main focus has been in Pastoral Ministries in various localities in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and in Peru.

Recommended Reading: “Weavers of the Tapestry”, Kathrine Bellamy’s, RSM -St. John’s, NL.  Flanker Press Limited   2006

 Recommended Web Site: http://www.sistersofmercynf.org/