Maria Mater Spei- Mary Mother of Hope- the abandoned convent with a story we can't find on the internet
I have been researching, scavenging, for any information on this convent for the last 3 YEARS. If you have any information, please fill out a form on the contact page. I will forever be in debt to you.
Off of West Main Road on the Middletown/Portsmouth line in Rhode Island, many don’t know of the abandoned convent sitting vacant, waiting to be destroyed- The Mother of Hope Novitiate. The place is rarely seen, the name is barely known, but mounted on the outside of the building facing the road is a plaque reading “Maria Mater Spei" (Mary, Mother of Hope in Latin). I have also seen this plaque on several other buildings- the St Lucy’s parish center and the former Lucy’s Hearth building in Middletown. I'm assuming it has some meaning related to an organization/association but every search turns up with nothing.
The Limited History:
It is unknown the actual name of the convent, I have seen Maria Mater Spei (obviously not correct), Mary Mother of Hope Novitiate, Mother of Hope Novitiate, and Our Lady of Hope Novitiate. There is also no known official closing year, but ground was broken by Msgr. Clarke in July 1961, and the building was consecrated by Bishop McVinney in September 1962. The Diocese of Providence owned the building and the 100 acres of property surrounding it, presumably now owned by the condo builders. It was intended to be the home for the Sisters of Our Lady of Providence. It later was being rented out as dorm rooms for nearby Roger Williams University and Salve Regina University as well, I believe Salve in the early to mid 80s due to a spike in enrollment. There also used to be buildings surrounding the convent, but they have been knocked down and some have been replaced by condos. Nearby church St. Barnabas celebrated their holy day masses in Chapel of the Novitiate before their church was completely constructed. The building was reportedly also a school in the 1960s, I’m assuming run by the nuns living there. I have no information confirming that, or any information on it period.
Now, I am not a big believer in the paranormal. I'm more on the alien side of things, not the ghosts. Like sometimes I believe it but I don't most of the time. Anyways, paranormal stories are often told on the limited blog posts about this place. Many say they feel like people are following them and talking to them, some people say objects move around, and some see ghosts.
The State of The Building:
The building is gutted and eventually it will be knocked down and replaced by condos. There are black streaks along the side of the building, leading to speculation that there was a fire which spread up diagonally from the lower floors. The building is very easy to enter, it's unlocked. The basement has been flooded for years, so many people’s accounts of exploring the building don’t include it. There are rumors of dead nuns down there, which can't be true. Lights still remain hanging from the ceiling in the chapel area. You can see the where the tabernacle was, in a big, seemingly stone casing. Besides that, most is gone.
In 2009, a stained glass window of St Teresa of Avila from the convent was sold for $4000. The chapel bell was saved and is being used in a church in Chepachet. An article made in 2012 by landingsgroup.com confirmed the marble in the chapel is being saved, as well as the stained glass and the oak confessional booths, but who knows the current state of these items.
Other Random Facts:
Newspapers.com(Newport Daily News), Blackmask/PVD, World In Ruin 16, landingsgroup.com, St Barnabas' parish website, the Rhode Island Catholic, Sturgis Antiques.
i don’t have much to say yet but I’ve been looking into Rhode Island church abuse cases, some which were very close to where I am from. Will update soon.