Tracadie-Sheila - 1868 to present

History Saint Joseph Community

1868: Leprosarium

Leprosy was present in the Northeastern region of New Brunswick at the beginning of the XIX century. In 1844, the Department of Health ordered isolation for the 30 victims of this deplorable illness on Sheldrake island on the Miramichi River. They were there for about five years, at which time the Provincial Government built a leprosarium on the main land in Tracadie. The fate of these patients had improved somewhat, but left to themselves they soon fell into a state of despair and misery.
At the request of Father Gauvreau, pastor in Tracadie, the RHSJ were asked to come to care for the lepers.  In September 1868, Mother Page and her companions, Sisters Eulalie Quesnel, Amanda Viger, (St. Jean de Goto), Delphine Breau, Clemence Bonin and  Philomene Fournier, known as Lumina, arrived at the Lazaretto.  Little by little, they transformed it into a well organized hospital. In 1880 the lazaretto became the responsibility of the Federal government who entrusted the administration to the Sisters.

Hotel-Dieu Orphanage: 1898
Lazaretto: 1896-1943

In 1896, the Federal government built a stone lazaretto, with one section reserved for the Sisters.  In 1898, they were successful in building a hospital made of stone. During close to 100 years, from 1868 to 1965, when the lazaretto was closed, 326 patients including about forty from different nationalities, were treated at the Lazaretto in Tracadie.  In January 1943, all the buildings were destroyed by fire. A new Hotel Dieu, including the lazaretto and monastery, were reconstructed in 1946. The Sisters responded to the need for training nurses by establishing a school of nursing, which was operative from 1947-1963. They also offered a practical nursing program from 1951-1973.

In September 1979, the sisters had to leave their lodgings in Hotel Dieu and move to the former Jeanne Mance Residence, left vacant by the closure of the nursing school.
In 1991, a modern Regional Hospital was built in Tracadie to replace Hotel Dieu which would be demolished.

For more information on the lazaretto in Tracadie, visit the Historical Museum of Tracadie, or the virtual Museum of Canada.


The Sisters were engaged in both health care and education apostolates at one and the same time. They opened a day school in 1873 in which 50 boys and girls from Tracadie were enrolled.  It closed in 1885, but in 1889, the Sisters opened an orphanage in the Hotel Dieu.

Holy Family Academy
In September 1912, the academy opened its doors to 200 boarders and day students, including the orphans.  Sister Isabelle Sormany was its first director.  In 1967 this institution ceased as a private school.  It was converted by the Minister of Education into a public elementary and secondary school, beginning in September of the same year. In 1976, the Academy closed its doors as a teaching Institution.  During its 65 years of existence, Holy Family graduated close to 5,000 boarders and day students.  In 1978, the Sisters of the Academy moved to Anse Street, giving their home the name , Le Royer Residence, while the Sisters of Hotel Dieu moved to the Jeanne Mance Residence in a wing previously occupied by the practical nursing school. In 1993, three Sisters went to the rectory at Saint-Simon to be a presence in that parish, which did not have a resident pastor.  In 2000, the RHSJ of Tracadie formed a single community, namely, Saint Joseph community.

Holy Family Center
In 1979, the Hospitallers of Tracadie,  in collaboration with social workers from the region, established a center for women and children who are victims of domestic violence, troubled teen-agers and homeless families.  Since 1989, this apostolate is governed by a Board of Directors under the direction of the Ministry of Health and Community services of the Province.  This Residence is a member of Catholic Health International health system.