Historic Saint John convent razed

The 147-year-old St. Vincent's Convent and adjacent chapel were taken down this week.
Saint John's St. Vincent's Convent came down this week. (CBC)

St. Vincent's Convent stood on Cliff Street in Saint John for 147 years, but this week the building and adjacent chapel were razed.

Crews continue to demolish the former Sisters of Charity residence after the building was declared beyond repair.

"Never thought [I'd] see this building go," Jan Beman said while watching demolition crews take down a part of his childhood.

"There's a lot of history gone away in this building," he said.

"This is a great tragedy for our city. A great tragedy," said Elizabeth McGahan, a Saint John historian.

McGahan says the city's 19th century architecture is what drew people to visit.

"What we have here is not everywhere and I would hope people understand the economic value of that," McGahan said.

At one point, more than 100 Catholic sisters lived at St. Vincent's.

Saint Vincent's operated for 147 years on Cliff Street. (CBC)

The nuns relocated a few blocks north on Burpee Avenue last year after the convent was declared unlivable.

Sister Mary Beth McCurdy calls the new residence a new place on the journey for the Sisters of Charity — now in their 158th year.

McCurdy said she hopes the future of the St. Vincent site carries on the spirit of their work.

"I hope that the land be used for a good purpose," McCurdy said.