This area of the house serves many purposes. First, it is a greeting area, where visitors are asked to sign the Guest Book. (We invite you to sign the virtual guest book as well.) In addition, it is where visitors can pick up an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art audio device if they wish to tour the house on their own. The audio tour, which is free, provides many details about the house that one may miss simply by casually walking through the museum.

Displayed on some of the well-preserved Victorian furniture are some of the crafts in which the Sisters are presently involved, including bobbin lace, doll making, and photography.

To continue the tour, visitors take the main stairs to the second floor. The stairway, which is quite safe and secure, has been in this location since the mid to late 19th century. Many, many people have walked up and down these steps, and while Father O’Reilly and young Félix Varela would have used stairs located elsewhere in the house, their presence can be felt on the second floor. The vantage point from the upstairs hall window affords a beautiful view of the garden.

As you ascend the stairway to the second floor, you are drawn toward the 1833 oil painting, "Taking the Veil," which is listed in the Tate Museum in London.

© 2004 Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine, Florida