Our History

The History of The Lantern

In the mid 18th century a young Irish woman named Nano Nagle dedicated her life to serving the poor. She went on to become the foundress of the Presentation Sisters in Ireland in 1776. Many were moved by Nano’s work and joined in her mission, extending her legacy beyond the Irish shores.

On September 21, 1833, a small ship named the Ariel sailed through the Narrows of St. John’s Harbour. Among the passengers were the first four Presentation Sisters to come to Newfoundland, carrying the vision and spirit of Nano Nagle with them.

Over the next 150 years the Sisters carried on their mission, touching the lives of tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders through their work in education and service. In 1994 the dream of a Christian Life Centre began to take shape among a group of the Sisters. What had been a Presentation School at 35 Barnes Rd in St. John’s closed its doors in June of 1996. The school was renovated and renamed The Lantern, A Christian Life Centre. The Lantern opened its doors on September 21, 1997, the anniversary day of the arrival of the Presentation Sisters in Newfoundland.

Since then, The Lantern has developed and evolved into a modern and accessible venue for programs and events in St. John’s. Our mission is to curate meeting and event space where people can come and do the things that will help make our community a stronger and more vibrant place. We advocate for programs that contribute to our vision of community; those that seek to improve personal and corporate wellness, develop individual and collective spirituality, and pursue justice for the underprivileged and marginalized.

In all that we do at The Lantern we seek to uphold the principles of community, charity, service, and social and ecological justice that we inherited from the Presentation Sisters, dating back to Nano Nagle. And that legacy endures in our very name – The Lantern – which was inspired by the lantern that Nano would carry as she ministered to the poor late into the night. We hope that our Lantern will similarly be a shining light for the community here in St. John’s. 

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