Former Apostolic Sites In Quebec
Saint Patrick Hospital, Montreal, Quebec
Prompted by Bishop Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, on April 26, 1852, the Hospitallers decided to purchase a building called Baptiste College and transform it into a hospital to care for the Irish Catholics who suffered from racial/religious discrimination.
Situated on Guy Street in the western part of the city, this institution could care for about 60 patients. Sister Catherine Lacroix, Superior and 5 companions left Hotel-Dieu for this foundation on June 21, 1852.
Difficult administrative problems, the role of the management committee comprised of Irish priests who withdrew their financial support, incited the Hospitallers to leave St. Patrick in 1860 and sell it to the Congregation of Notre Dame. The Irish patients were cared for in St.Patrick and St. Brigitte wards in the new Hotel-Dieu on Pine Avenue in 1861. The Sisters formed one community at the Hotel-Dieu.
St. Mary’s Hospital, Montreal, Quebec
Sister Helen Morrissey, R.H.S.J,from an Irish family, a pharmacist at Hotel-Dieu, Montreal, dreamed of founding a hospital to care for the English speaking patients as early as 1908. In 1924, with permission from Bishop Georges Gauthier, Archbishop of Montreal, Mother LeRoyer, her Superior and the support of generous benefactors, she left the Hotel-Dieu to establish St. Mary’s Hospital (50 beds) in the Sir Thomas Shaughnessy residence. She called on the Sisters of Hotel-Dieu,Cornwall, Kingston and Chicago to support her in this hospital apostolate. The community received novices. A school of nursing was opened. In 1930, following administrative difficulties, Sister Morrissey returned to Hotel-Dieu. St. Mary’s Hospital was then entrusted to another religious community. This was the first Catholic English speaking hospital in Quebec.
The population of Sorel, wanting to establish a modern hospital, initially approached the Grey Nuns who were unable to accept. Following the counsel of Bishop Douville, the Sorel promoters approached the RHSJ of Montreal and Arthabaska, receiving a refusal from both. Upon the advice of Bishop C.A. Leblanc, Bishop of Bathurst, one of the leaders promoting this endeavor approached the Sisters of Hotel-Dieu, Campbellton.
Sisters Berthe Arseneau and Lea Audet were interested in this project and after studying the plans with the community, accepted to establish a hospital in Sorel. Sister Lea Audet was its first administrator. Funding was problematic, but the various obstacles were overcome and on November 6, 1944, the property, gift of the Franciscan Fathers was blessed. Construction was completed in 1948.
In 1954 a School of Practical Nursing was established and replaced by a school of Professional Nursing from 1967-1972. Sister Simone Cournoyer, the last remaining Hospitaller left the Hospital in June 1998.
In 2008, Hotel-Dieu, Sorel, was ceded to the government of Quebec and its name was changed, becoming a Health and Social Service Center.
In 1947, the RHSJ of Hotel-Dieu, Arthabaska, accepted to open a hospital in St. Jerome. The first patients were admitted in 1950. In 1958, a School of Nursing was established. In January 1969, Mr. Gaetan Bellemare became the first lay administrator. In 1976, the last RHSJ left Saint Jerome. Two Hospitallers continued to serve on the Board of Directors until June 2002.
Ville-Marie Provincial House, Montreal, Quebec
Sister Germaine Lafond, appointed Provincial Superior in 1953 and two Assistants left the motherhouse for a temporary location on Chemin de la Cote Ste. Catherine in 1956. In 1958, the Provincial Council moved into a newly constructed building on the same street on the corner of Sterling Avenue.
Through the years, the Provincial Superior, a member of her Council or another Sister was responsible for the community. In 1970, a sub-group consisting of students and missionaries on leave was formed with Sister Marguerite Mercier as Coordinatorr of the group until 1974. A few Sisters from this group formed a community and moved to the Marie Morin Residence adjacent to the Motherhouse.
The Provincial House served as a residence for student Sisters of the Congregation as well as those from different Congregations. The community defined itself as a support to the Provincial Council as well as to the community of student Sisters.
As part of the relocation process of the Generalate which moved from Canterbury Avenue to the Provincial House in 1999, the Provincial House community relocated to the Canterbury Residence.
The Generalate house was sold to the Sisters of Notre Dame du Bon Conseil in 2007 at which time the General Administration relocated to its renovated quarters on the fourth floor of the motherhouse and the Marie de la Ferre residence.
Marie Morin Residence, Montreal, Quebec
The building adjacent to the motherhouse built in 1861, currently known as the Marie Morin Residence, served as a boarding house for hired men until 1962, known as the “Mens’ house”. Once renovated, it served as classrooms (annex to Ecole Lafond) and lodging for students for four years. Thereafter, the house provided lodging for working students until 1974.
In 1974, the house was renovated once again to house six Hospitallers from Ville Marie Province who wished to experiment with an alternative form of community life, a fraternity. Other small groups followed with an objective of welcoming young women students seeking to pursue a Christian and vocational journey.
In 1990, Sister Cecile Gagne was engaged as a resource person at the Intercommunity vocation center. From 1991-2008, she became the Director of this Center, whose objective was to accompany youth seeking their vocation. The students living at the Marie Morin residence were invited to participate in the activities of the Center.
From 2007 – 2009, the residence served as a hospitality house for Sisters visiting in Montreal. Currently, the house serves as a residence for students at the Integrated Human Development Institute.
Grand Moulin Manor, Inc., Deux Montagnes, Quebec
This manor for the elderly, providing residential care lodging with 40 furnished private rooms and approximately 20 furnished apartments, is located a few minutes from the Deux Montagnes train station. The Hospitallers were approached to manage this complex. In 1977, Sister Therese Trottier was appointed administrator, which included general administration services, admissions, screening of residents, personnel, ietc. Lay persons formed her staff. In 1978, an infirmary with six beds was organized along with a nursing office. The Manor harbors the beauty of nature and a splendid landscape conducive to healthy living.
Sister Trottier along with two-three Sisters formed a community residing in an apartment complex about 15 minutes walking distance from the manor. Health problems led to leaving this Manor in 1981.
Saint Urbain Residence, Montreal, Quebec
(1980 – 1993)
In the summer of 1978, tenants of the St. Urbain apartment complex asked the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, owners of these building, if it would be possible to form a Housing Cooperative. Following a series of meetings, this cooperative was formed and three Sisters including Sister Eliane Pepin, Superior, moved into one of the apartments in 1980 to participate in this project with a view to an opportunity for evangelization.
The purpose of this Cooperative was to promote social justice by fostering mutual support, self-government and solidarity, offering lodging to low-income persons. The Sisters were part of this cooperative until 1993, at which time the property was sold to its members who pursue the same objectives.
Holy Family Residence, Montreal, Quebec
In 1985, Sister Gemma Pednault served as the Director of “La Maison des Amis du Plateau Mont-Royal, Inc.” a house where persons with various problems are welcomed and assisted. This house was an initiative and apostolate of the Immaculate Conception parish, where Father Pierre Cote, s.j. was the pastor. Six afternoons a week, the “Maison” receives 60 – 90 men and women who are on social welfare: the alienated, the homeless, itinerants, drug addicts and ex-psychopaths. It is a haven for those excluded from society. The “Maison”? is part of the community services network of this district.
Sister Pednault promoted development of skills and social integration for those on welfare by various programs: food service work, housekeeping, secretarial services, used clothing vestry. The vestry and general store helped to finance this apostolate. Volunteers and donors, including the Congregation, support “Maison des Amis”.
In 1987 Sister Pednault requested that a community of three Hospitallers come to live in this area with Sister Therese Robert as Superior. This community was dissolved in 1992. At the end of 1999, Sister Pednault transitioned the leadership of this apostolate to her assistant, a credentialed criminologist, but remains currently active in the corporation.
From Quebec to the Canadian West
In 1940, with the authorization of the Archbishop of Edmonton, three RHSJ from Chatham New Brunswick, Sisters Gertrude Delaney (Borden),Caroline Kenny and Mary Vernonica Doran, arrived in Barrhead, Alberta, some 90 miles northwest of Edmonton, to open a small 30 bed hospital. The Sisters served there for seven years when they were recalled to Chatham where their services were required. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Pembroke, Ontario assumed the administration of the hospital.
At the request of the population of Whitelaw who wanted a Catholic hospital, the religious authorities of the Grouard diocese began negotiating with religious communities. The RHSJ of Hotel-Dieu, Windsor, accepted their request and three Sisters arrived in Whitelaw on March 15, 1950. However, the minister of health , who hadn’t been consulted, did not see the need for a new hospital. The Sisters only received permission to build a 40 bed nursing home for the elderly and chronically ill patients. About 27 Sisters worked in this mission until it closed in 1978 due to lack of recruitment.
At the request of Bishop Routhier of the Grouard Diocese, four Sisters arrived at McLennan on November 22, 1967, to manage the Notre Dame du Lac Nursing Home, a property of the diocese. Twelve Sisters worked in this nursing home until it closed in March 1982.
From Quebec to Africa
Benin (Dahomey), French West Africa
In February 1955, Father Henri Petit, attaché with the apostolic delegation of French Africa, gave a presentation on the evangelization of the population to the Motherhouse community. This conference prompted a missionary awakening to this far away continent. The Congregation responded to this urgent call from the Apostolic Delegation of French West Africa with the opening of a mission in Africa. Under the leadership of the North American Generalate (l953), the mission in Africa at Porto Novo, Dahomey, was established on June 29, 1955. On February 15, 1956, six Hospitallers under the leadership[ of Sister Claire Trudel became engaged in the various services of the government hospital in Porto Novo. They assisted the poor and became engaged in public health education. The Sisters left the hospital in 1979. Twenty six Sisters, marked by their characteristic charity, had served the sick there .
In 1958, at the initiative of Father Louis Aiguilhon, s.m.a., Monsignor Chopard-Lallier, Apostolic Vicar of Paraqou, requested Sisters for a mission north of Dahomey. In 1960, Sister Cecile Branchaud, Superior and a companion arrived in Badjoude (Dompago) to open a dispensary and a maternity center, as well as to work for the promotion of women. This new mission led to sharing with the Sisters of Porto Novo. The Hospitallers left the Badjoude mission in 1985 to a Columbian community of Missionary Sisters of St.Theresa of the Child Jesus.
In 1971, a project which was the dream of Father Yves Calvez, s.m.a., and the chief of the village of Chabicouma, M. Patara, became a reality. A small community of three Hospitallers with Sister Claire Monarque as Superior was founded. The Sisters worked in maternity, the dispensary and a sewing center. They worked for the promotion of women. In 1997, the Sisters left this mission to a native community, the Oblates Catechetists, Little servants of the Poor. Since its foundation in 1971, fourteen Hospitallers had passed on the flame of tender compassion in caring for the sick and the poor of Africa