The Daughters of the Holy Spirit began arriving in America from France in 1902 at the invitation of Bishop Matthew Harkins of Providence. Four Sisters came to Newport and established their first community in a small cottage on Williams Street in 1909 . Within eight days, the Sisters began their charitable mission of caring for the sick and the elderly – a mission that has grown over the past 100 years and continues today.
On October 22, 1909, the St. Clare Home Corp. was formed at a meeting held at St. Mary’s Rectory that included Bishop Harkins, Rev. William Meenan, the pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Philip Clarke, M.D., James Cottrell, Nicolas Dwyer, DeLancy Kane, Fredrick Garrettson, and Andrew Quinn. The Corporation purchased the Francis Malbone House at 329 Thames St., and through the generosity of Marion Ramsey Cutting, the building was completely renovated. The Sisters moved to the site on August 8, 1910.
From this location, the Sisters ran a nursery school and a home for “working girls,” and in 1927 began the self-supporting Saint Clare Home for Aged Women, serving 20 elderly female residents. Three years later, in September 1930, the day nursery moved to the newly constructed Garrettson Memorial building at 299 Spring Street where it operated for more than 75 years. In 1971 St. Clare Home moved to a new building for women and men at its current location at 309 Spring Street.
Today, St. Clare-Newport is a not-for-profit skilled nursing facility caring for 47 elders. It is staffed by more than 80 competent, compassionate staff, and it continues to grow while maintaining and honoring the mission of the original founders, giving comfort and care to all in need. The beautiful St. Clare chapel offers mass six days a week and is attended by both residents and the community at large. In August 2013 the remaining two Sisters of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit retired. St. Clare however, will forever honor and uphold the ministry and mission of their pioneering way of offering the care, compassion and respect our seniors deserve. That is our legacy and our promise.