Our Mother of Sorrows Chapel was built on Ordnance Street in 1898 under the supervision of Catherine McKinley, a Kingston native and foundress of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. The first Mass was celebrated on October 13, 1898. The official dedication was on November 21, 1898.
One of the first buildings in Kingston built under the direction of a woman, the chapel adjoins Providence Manor, a long-term care home, and can be seen as a separate building resembling a full-sized church. It was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Toronto’s Joseph Connelly, one of the foremost ecclesiastical architects of his day and built with locally quarried limestone.
Many of the building’s original features have been preserved, including spectacular stained glass windows, wooden ceilings and one of the few Casavant Freres organs still operating in its original condition. The organ has been recognized as an historical instrument by the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
The basement holds the Printing Room Museum showcasing the printing company operated by the Congregation for almost a century. The chapel continues to serve its original function as a worship space for Providence Manor and the Sisters of Providence.
In 2003 extensive restorations were undertaken by Kingston firm Mac Gervan and Associates Ltd. to preserve the historic nature of this unique building. Due to age and weather, a plan was adopted to return the venerable building to its original splendor. During the renovation, builders discovered historically significant items, including the signature of an artist who created an original stained glass window.
Pewter Limited Edition
The Chapel was also honoured in 2003 when Downtown Kingston, the association for businesses in the city’s downtown core, chose it to be part of its Limited Edition Pewter Christmas Ornament Collection. A limited number were produced and released to the public.
- 1896, May 14 Architect chosen, Joseph Connolly
- 1897, July 15 Cornerstone blessing by Archbishop Cleary
- 1898, October 13 First Mass celebrated
- 1898, November 21 Official Dedication
- 1899, February 20 Stations of the Cross erected, donated by friends and relatives of the Sisters
- 1899, April Mother Mary Edward organized a bazaar to raise funds for organ
- 1902 Interior decoration complete
- 1904 Seven stain glass windows installed, created by Mayer & Co. New York
- 1931-1935 Five stained glass windows installed, created by Mayer & Co. New York
- 1936 St. Catherine of Sienna stained glass window installed, created by Guido Ninchere
- 1939 Redecoration of chapel and three marble altars installed
- 1959 Major renovation
- 2003-2004 Major restoration of chapel
- 2004-2005 Restoration of stained glass windows
- 2004, March 26 Rededication of chapel
- 2004, September 26 “Certificate of Commendation” for restoration of the chapel awarded by the Frontenac Heritage Foundation
- 2006 Restoration of Casavant Pipe Organ
- 2006, May 8 Historic citation of the Chapel’s Casavant Organ, opus 95, by the Royal Canadian College of Organists
- 2008, October 29 Livable City Design Award from the City of Kingston for the 2003 restoration
- 2011 150th anniversary stained glass window by Mark Thompson
Our Mother of Sorrows Chapel, between 1910 and 1915
Blessed Virgin’s Side Altar, Our Mother of Sorrows Chapel, between 1954 and 1967
The restoration of the Pieta was the final project that officially ended an ambitious two year renovation at the historic Mother of Sorrows Chapel
Historically designated Casavant Organ still operating in its original condition
A heritage-themed stained glass window was installed in the narthex or back entrance of the chapel in 2011 as part of the Congregation’s 150th anniversary celebrations.