The History of Poor Clares in New York

Illustration of Mother Magdalen BentevoglioThe Poor Clares in the United States were started in 1875 with the arrival of two blood Sisters from Italy, Mother Mary Magdalen Bentevoglio and her sister, Mother Constance. A foundation in New York was not possible until the year 1915 when Mother Mary Seraphim Lynch was sent from Omaha, Nebraska with three companions, in reply to the gracious invitation of Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York. Upon their arrival, September 4, 1915, they were shown hospitality by the little Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis Hospital.

photo of monastery on haven aveTwo months later they went to live in a small rented house on Riverside Drive. On November 23, 1917, the Sisters moved to Saint Nicholas Avenue, and in 1920 purchased a house on Haven Avenue, right on the banks of the Hudson River.


photo of monastery in the bronxTthe George Washington Bridge was designed by Othmar Ammann and Cas Gillbert. In 1926 when the construction on the bridge began, this location was no longer private enough and became to congested. As a result in October, 1930, construction was begun on our large new Monastery in Throgs Neck. We lived in this beautiful Monastery, in the parish of St. Frances de Chantal in the Bronx for 66 years. It became obvious that because of the shortage of religious vocations in the Bronx, we would need to build a smaller Monastery.

photo of monastery in Wappingers Falls New YorkIn February of 1999, we moved temporarily to the small Convent opposite Holy Family Church in New Rochelle, NY and lived there until November 1, 2004 when we were finally able to move into our present, newly built Monastery of St. Clare here in Wappingers Falls, on the beautiful property of Mount Alvernia Retreat Center. The people here have lovingly welcomed us into their hearts and they have surely also taken deep roots in ours!