Private tours can be given. Also a one hour indoor presentation can be given.
The Calvary Cemetery of the Sisters of Providence is the southernmost of the two cemetery along Lower Westfield Road. The other cemetery is the Mont Marie Cemetery. Both cemeteries are part of the Brightside Neighborhood. This Calvary Cemetery is the older of the two by a lot and is often called the Brightside Cemetery.
This cemetery started in 1893 in the Ingleside neighborhood of Holyoke. The motherhouse is a short distance to the south on Gamelin Street. These sisters first started in Holyoke at the Saint Jerome Institute in 1873.
stop 1 – gates
The gates tell you the correct full name of the cemetery – the Calvary Cemetery of the Sisters of Providence. It is best to use that name since there is another Calvary Cemetery in Holyoke. That one started in 1883 for the parish of Sacred Heart but this Calvary Cemetery was not named after that one. Rather this one is named after the Calvary Cemetery of Chicopee. This is since the order of nuns and the orphanages that they run here were under the control of the Springfield Catholic Diocese. The Calvary Cemetery in Chicopee is under their control and is in fact the first Catholic cemetery in Western Massachusetts. Hence they are tied together.
stop 2 – statue
A statue of Christ the Savior is in the middle of the cemetery. This order of nuns believed in the healing power of Christ.
stop 3 – Mother Mary of Providence Horan
Mother Mary of Providence Horan was the first Mother General of the Sisters of Providence in Holyoke.
She died the 25th of January 1943. She was born Catherine Horan on July 19 1850 in Ontario. She is the only one with a non-uniform gravestone in this cemetery. She joined the order early on and was well trusted by the order.
stop 4 – gravestones of the first burials
The oldest apparent burial in this cemetery is that of Sr Mary Anthony Keefe. She died the 14th of May 1895.
She is buried toward the back of the cemetery were the stones are angled differently from the front ones.
Two nuns of the order of the Sisters of Charity of Providence died in Holyoke before the 1892 start of the order of the Sisters of Providence and the start of this cemetery. They were at first buried in Saint Jerome Cemetery in Holyoke but in 1893 were reinterred here. They are Sister Mary Teresa Cleary (FINDAGRAVE) who died in 1881
and Sister Mary Patrick O’Halloran (FINDAGRAVE) who died in 1890.
stop 5 – Chapel
A chapel is at back too. It has a statue of St Vincent. St Vincent is the patron saint of the Sisters of Providence.
stop 6 – Providence Hospital Infants’ Cemetery
Providence Hospital started an infants’ cemetery along the southern tip of the Calvary Cemetery for nuns. There are baby gravestones in that area either with names and dates or as just a cement block. The earliest gravestone is from 1982. The last is from the late 1990s and after that Providence Hospital did not deliver any more babies.
stop 7 – motherhouse and neighborhood
The motherhouse is now on private property. That motherhouse was started in 1932 for the Sisters of Providence. They had been using the Ingleside and Brightside area since the 1880s as an orphanage. The entire area was designed at first to help orphans via the Mont St Vincent Asylum and the Brightside Orphanage. Later Providence Hospital was added to the area. Read about the area as you walk around the Brightside Neighborhood.