Our Lady of Good Hope Chapel, 1875, Isle of Hope

From the Savannah Diocesan Archives: Our Lady of Good Hope Chapel began as the novitiate of European Benedictines invited to Savannah by Rt. Rev. William Gross to minister to the former slave population in Savannah. After beginning St. Benedict’s Parish on Harris Street (now St. Benedict the Moor Parish, Savannah located on E. Broad Street) the Benedictines began their novitiate on the Isle of Hope in 1875. It only lasted for one year, being abandoned in1876 after the Yellow Fever Epidemic killed some of its community. Bishop Gross invited the Benedictine Monks of St. Vincent’s Archabbey (Latrobe, PA) to continue ministering to the former slave population in Savannah, and they came in 1877, taking up the mission on Isle of Hope. Soon after the Benedictines moved off of the Isle of Hope, but kept ministering to the congregation until 1888. At this point, another monastery (St. Mary’s Abbey, Belmont, NC) took over the management of the Isle of Hope Chapel, and closed it. It does not reopen for 20 years. Sacred Heart monks minister to the congregation until the founding of St. James the Less Parish in 1949. Mass frequency is cut back to once a month as St. James’ boundaries include Our Lady of Good Hope’s congregation. After the initial 1875 conversion of house to a chapel, it was subsequently restored in 1908. A major restoration and rededication occurred in 1974.

The conversion of an extant frame house into this chapel in 1875 represents the first Benedictine monastery in the South.

Isle of Hope Historic District, National Register of Historic Places


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