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Mount St. Francis Monastery

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/09/25

Exterior photo, main facade, Mount St. Francis Monastery, Merrymeeting Road, St. John's, NL, August 11, 2004.; HFNL 2005
Mount St. Francis Monastery
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1880/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/01/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Mount St. Francis Monastery is a two and a half storey stone building built in the Gothic Revival style. Built between 1877 and 1880, Mount St. Francis Monastery is located on Merrymeeting Road in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Mount St. Francis Monastery is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure due to its historic, architectural, and environmental values.

Mount St. Francis Monastery is historically valuable for its association with the Irish Christian Brothers. Founded in 1802 in Ireland by Brother Edmund Rice, the Irish Christian Brothers proceeded with the objective of, “To do and to teach.” In 1875, the Irish Christian Brothers accepted an invitation from the Benevolent Irish Society to assume responsibility for Roman Catholic education in St. John’s. This decision to come to St. John’s was crucial to the development of Roman Catholic education in Newfoundland. Mount St. Francis Monastery was built between 1877 and 1880 to house the Irish Christian Brothers. The Irish Christian Brothers contributed immensely to the Roman Catholic education system in Newfoundland operating schools throughout the island at all age levels. In 1889 the Brothers took over the responsibility of St. Bonaventure’s College from the diocesan priests. The Irish Christian Brothers operate schools throughout the world. From their work in Newfoundland, the Brothers branched out into schools throughout Canada and in the West Indies. The contributions of the Irish Christian Brothers to education in Newfoundland were great and Mount St. Francis Monastery stands as a testament to this influence and contribution. This Monastery is also historically valuable as the first Irish Christian Brothers Monastery in Newfoundland.

Mount St. Francis Monastery is architecturally valuable as an example of Gothic Revival architecture in an institutional building. This style of architecture was common for monasteries built during this period. According to local tradition, Mount St. Francis Monastery is modelled after a monastery in Wexford, Ireland. The Monastery employs many Gothic elements including steeply peaked dormers, arched windows and doors, and quoining on the corners. The double bay windows topped with a steep gable roof flanking each side of the main entrance create a turret-like look for the front façade of the building.

Mount St. Francis Monastery is environmentally valuable for its location in St. John’s. The Monastery is located in the centre of the city and is one of a larger number of buildings that create a complex of ecclesiastical buildings in this area.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property file: "St. John’s-Mount St. Francis Monastery."

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements that are representative of the Gothic Revival style of architecture, including:
-pointed arch windows, quoining etc.
-window style and placement;
-stone construction;
-exterior colours of building;
-building height, number of storeys, roof shape and dimensions; and,
-2 double bay windows with steep gabled roof on front façade.

All those features which speak to the environmental values of the historic place, including:
-building setback on the lot; and,
-positioning of the building relative to the nearby ecclesiastical precinct.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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