The founder of the Nazareth Houses was French born Victoire Larmenier. She arrived in London in 1851 with a small group of religious women. Some years later, as Mother St. Basil, she founded ‘The Sisters of Nazareth’ to care for the aged poor, many of whom were living in appalling conditions and needed no only material assistance but also prayer, care, love and compassion.
The plight of many destitute children touched her heart and she agreed, at the request of the Cardinal, to extend the sister’s care to these children as well. In 1853 the first abandoned and homeless children were welcomed to Nazareth House in Hammersmith.
The people of Portsmouth came to Mother St. Basil’s attention. Plans were drawn up in 1887 for a Nazareth House here and the building, on the corner of Albert Road and Lawrence Road, was opened in soon afterwards. After seeing many thousand people needing help and care, the Portsmouth Nazareth House closed its doors in 1982, mainly due to dwindling numbers of Sisters coming into the profession. The House and grounds have been converted into flats. The Order still remains at the Hammersmith Nazareth House.
24 Sisters of Nazareth remain in Portsmouth, buried in Highland Road Cemetery.