In April 1861, Most Rev Dr Browne, Bishop of Kilmore, having seen for himself the previous year the work carried on for children by the sisters in Newry,  came back to ask for some sisters who might carry out the same work for children in his own Diocese. So, as Mother Abbess Michael O’Hagan agreed to this request, three sisters, Sr Mary Ignatius Corley, Sr Mary Patrick McEnearney and Sr Mary Antony Denvir left Newry to establish this foundation in Cavan town on May 28th, 1861, which was named “St Joseph’s Abbey”.
A school was opened and in addition to the usual subjects, the sisters taught vocal and instrumental music, drawing and needlework. An orphanage was opened in 1865, which was certified as an Industrial School in 1869. The average number in the orphanage ranged from 87 – 100 poor children. Many trained for domestic service and procured good situations from this. Tragically, in 1943 a disastrous fire destroyed the Orphanage. Thirty five children and one adult died. The orphanage was rebuilt and remained in operation until 1967, when new laws concerning children in care came into effect. A new Primary school building, which caters for approximately 600 children, was opened in 1970. A Post Primary school flourished until, on the decision of the Congregation, it closed in 1975.
In 1971, the convent donated land for some Tigíns – small houses for travelling people. The original Convent was sold in1980 and, on October 14th 1982, the new Convent was officially blessed and opened by Most Rev Dr Francis Mc Kiernan, then the Bishop of Kilmore.