- a monastery or other religious house from which one or more additional religious houses have been founded
- the headquarters of a religious community
The motherhouse is the founding house of a religious order, or the convent where the mother superior lives.
A monastery from which a religion was born and where the religious leaders now live is an example of a motherhouse.
- The convent in which the mother superior of a religious community lives.
- The original convent of a religious community.
- The monastery from which the other 'houses' of a religious order or congregation were (directly or indirectly) founded, often eponymous.
- The convent which is the seat (often the above original foundation) of the superior of an order or congregation, and/or on which lower ranking houses (such as priories under an abbot) depend.