Brightside’s New Asylum

by Laurel | May 26th, 2010

Infants Home at Brightside

Infants Home at Brightside

May 26, 1907

And the Growing Work of the Sisters of Providence.

The Brightside infant asylum, which was burned March 13 of this year, is to be replaced by a more spacious building. The new building will accommodate 130 boys and will cost about $30,000. It is intended to move the convent building to the rear and make room for the new orphanage, which will be equipped with all the best improvements.

The Sisters of Providence, who conduct the orphanage at Brightside, are a community whose principal end is to exercise the corporal works of mercy toward the neighbor, and this object of their institute finds its practical expression in the case of orphans and destitute children of both sexes, of aged and infirm men and women, of the sick and debilitated in hospitals and sanatoriums. They follow the rule of St. Vincent de Paul and the generous spirit of that great apostle of charity is reflected in the variety of good works embraced by this sisterhood. They came to the diocese of Springfield in November, 1873, at the invitation of Rt. Rev. Mrg. Harkins and with the approval of Rt. Rev. P. J. O’Reilly, then bishop of Springfield. Four sisters made the foundation in whose humble beginning the present community of 200 members found its existence.

Floorplan of Proposed Infants' Asylum at Brightside

Floorplan of Proposed Infants' Asylum at Brightside

The first location of the order was in South Hadley Falls, until its removal to the House of Providence, Dwight street, Holyoke, to a property bought by Mgr. Harkens and transferred to the Sisters of Providence in 1878, when they became incorporated under the laws of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The institutions included in the corporation of the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke are the House of Providence hospital, the Harkins home for aged and infirm women, Mr. St. Vincent at Ingleside, home for girls, Greylock rest sanatorium at Adams, Holy Family Institute at Brightside, where are located the mother house of the sisterhood and some of its most active charities, as the boys’ home, home for aged men and infant asylum. The Mercy hospital and St. Luke’s hospital in Springfield, St. Vincent’s hospital in Worcester and the Farren hospital, Montague City, are also in charge of the Sisters.

The Wilkinson estate, familiarly known as “Brightside,” came into the market soon after the death of the proprietor, W. H. Wilkinson. It attracted the attention of Rt. Rev. Thomas D. Beaven, bishop of the diocese of Springfield, who recognized its fitness for institution purposes. He secured the property in October, 1892. About the same time the Sisters of Providence became affiliated to the diocese and in anticipation of the growth of the new diocesan community, the bishop decided to establish the mother house at Brightside, also to remove the boys’ home to the same place, as Ingleside was overcrowded and would be no more than sufficient for the girls’ asylum. The buildings on the estate underwent such changes as were necessary for the new purposes to which they were to be devoted. The residence of the former owner was selected for the convent, and is still used by the Sisters, but it is wholly inadequate to accommodate the number necessarily resident there, and it is the intention soon to erect a new mother house.

As seen from any point of view, Brightside is attractive, and there can be but one opinion as to its advantages of location, beauty of scenery and general fitness for the work conducted on its broad fields. The original purchase conveyed to the corporation of the Sisters of Providence was 130 acres, but land adjoining has since been added and the Brightside grounds now enclose 230 acres, within the limits of the city of Holyoke. The farm is cultivates as extensively as the means will allow, and its products aid very substantially in sustaining the institution, as the amount received for payment of children’s board would not cover the current expenses. In addition to the revenue derived from the farm, the children of the institution give an entertainment in Court Square theater every year, and a goodly sum is realized from it.

This year on account of the burning of the infant asylum the Catholic societies of Springfield sent delegates to a meeting at Mercy hospital early in May to devise ways and means to aid the sisters on account of their extraordinary expenses, and a committee chosen at this meeting made arrangements for a lecture and concert to be held in Court Square theater on the evening of June 2. Judge Michael J. Murray of Boston will be the lecturer, and Clifford and Judge of Boston will sing. Unusual interest has been shown in the sale of tickets, Forbes & Wallace have given a gavel and block to be presented to the society selling the largest number of tickets, and the firm of Smith & Murray will present a beautiful clock to the individual delegate most successful in the ticket-selling contest. The boxes have been sold to prominent people of the city. Among the first to boy a box was Mayor w. E. Sanderson. The committee hope to realize at least $1,000 from the event.

From The Springfield Republican.

See also: Home for Infants at Brightside (presumably the structure mentioned here that was lost to a fire.)

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