Sisters belonging to many different religious orders have worked in the
region of present-day Alberta over the past 150 years. These are but a
few of these orders.
The Sisters of Charity of Montreal (Grey Nuns)
The Grey Nuns were founded in Canada in 1737 by the Venerable
Marguerite d'Youville. The sisters took charge of the General Hospital in
Montreal, which was in great need. The Grey Nuns were the first order of
women to travel to Western Canada, initially to St. Boniface in 1844 and in 1859 to the new mission at Lac Ste. Anne.
The original mission of Marguerite d'Youville was to provide charity to
without reservation or judgment. For her efforts she was given the title of
"Mother of Universal Charity." Today the Grey Nuns continue to
work in five different locations in Alberta-Lac Ste. Anne, St. Albert, at
Stand-Off on the Kainai (Blood) Reserve, Calgary and Edmonton. Their goal
to provide universal charity to the marginalized and the poor.
Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence trace their beginnings to Montreal in 1843
and the inspiration of Mother Emilie Tavernier Gamelin, who, after she was
widowed, sought to provide help to the poor and oppressed (she
herself was poor and had to rely on the providence of God to fulfill her
mission). The Sisters of Providence first moved West in 1886 when they started St. Mary's
Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia. Since then they expanded
through the Prairie Provinces and into the Yukon.
Today the Sisters of Providence
working in Western Canada have their
headquarters in Edmonton. They continue to provide care to the needy as well as
addressing the root causes of the poverty and oppression by promoting social change. In Alberta they
work through the Providence Renewal Centre, Father Lacombe
Nursing Home and ministries such as Wings of Providence.
The Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus
Venerable Marie Madelaine de Bonnault d'Hoüet, founder of the
Faithful Companions of Jesus, established a society of women who received
their inspiration from Mary, Mother of Jesus and the women in the Gospel
who accompanied Jesus throughout his ministry. Marie Madelaine was herself
influenced by the deep spirituality of the members of the Society of Jesus
(Jesuits). She adopted, likewise, for the new order of women the rule of St.
Ignatius. The charism of the sisters, companionship, is expressed as they
devote themselves to education and to bringing God's love to all people.
Today, they have houses in many countries around the world.
first arrived in Canada in 1883 at the invitation of Bishop Grandin to come
to his diocese of Prince Albert. They travelled by boat from France to
Canada, by train from Montreal to Qu'Apelle, and by covered wagon from
Qu'Apelle west-first to St. Laurent, later to Calgary, Edmonton and
Lethbridge. Today the Faithful Companions of Jesus continue to maintain a
presence in those cities, operating the Christian Life Centre in Calgary
and in Edmonton they support a safe house for women, connected to Catholic Social