The Convent of Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition was founded by four French missionary nuns in 1844 after they were sent to Larnaka to help the sick and needy amidst outbreaks of typhus, cholera and dysentery. All four nuns fell victim to the illnesses themselves, passing away within two years, by which time the convent – with its beautiful Latin architectural style - was completed.
Today, the convent is maintained by a very small sisterhood and continues to function as a place of worship for the sisters - and once a week for the Maronite congregation. The sisters have a long history of philanthropic services, and were also an integral part of the education of young ladies in Larnaka from 1845 till the late 1980’s, when the nuns ran a secondary school for girls. The convent's hosptial was also significant, with sister Sophie Gambon making the most impact, working around the clock to save thousands of lives until she died from exhaustion in 1894.
Sister Gambon was later canonized, and as a result of her dedication, the city of Larnaka dedicated the monument in front of the convent to her as a way of thanks for her tireless service to the community. The monument consists of a fountain and a pelican – symbolic as the pelican is a selfless bird; when it cannot find food for its chicks, it offers them its blood to drink, putting its own life at risk.