Born November 26, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan, Angela Marie Aubert was the daughter of Joseph Telesphore “Ted” Aubert (d. 1936) and Helen Benesch (d. 1971). She had one brother. She was raised in Wildwood, Alberta and attended high school there. In 1945, Angela Aubert moved to Edmonton to enroll in business and secretarial studies at McTavish Business College. She then began a career as a secretary in Edmonton. It was at this time that she felt a call to religious life and on August 25, 1948, she was received into the Community of the Sisters of St. Joseph at Sacred Heart Convent in London, Ontario and given the name Sister Marie Angela. After her first vows on August 25, 1950, she returned to Edmonton where she took teacher training at the University of Alberta, graduating in 1951. Sister Marie Angela Aubert professed her final vows on August 25, 1954 in London. Her first assignment, until 1957, was at the Catholic school in St. Bride's, Alberta where she was a teacher, then principal. From 1957 to 1961, Sister Marie Angela Aubert was assigned to the business office at St. Joseph's Hospital in Galahad, Alberta. After she returned to teach at St. Nicholas School in Edmonton until 1964. Then she was asked to teach business and religion at O'Leary High School. As head of the business department, she encouraged her students to manage a real business in the classroom under the sponsorship of Junior Achievement. The students had great success, even winning awards and a chance to go to Vancouver to compete in the Junior Achievement national competition. She finished her Bachelor of Education studies, graduating in 1969, from the University of Alberta. In 1971, Sister Marie Angela Aubert returned to London, Ontario as head of the business department at Mount St. Joseph Academy, and in 1975, was assigned to Catholic Central High School. While teaching there from 1975 to 1978, she supervised the Catholic Central High School Business Club and received the Catholic Central High School Business Club award. When Mount St. Joseph Academy closed, the facility was opened as a Guest Wing for those who had a family member as a patient in University Hospital, and Sister Marie Angela Aubert was appointed treasurer. During those years, she volunteered at the jail, participated in the Toastmistress Club, initiated self-Bible study, and turned Gospel stories into plays. She also maintained an interest in social justice, reaching out to the least fortunate and forgotten. In 1985 and 1987, the Ministry of Corrections gave her service awards for her volunteer work at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre where she was the Coordinator of R. C. [Roman Catholic] Jail Ministry Volunteers. In 1991, she was moved to Ignatia Hall Infirmary and then to the care centre at 485 Windermere Road when it was built in 2007. Sister Marie Angela Aubert died there on January 17, 2008. A Mass of Resurrection was held in St. Joseph Chapel at the 485 Windermere Road residence. She is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in London.
Jane Bigelow (1928 - ) was a politician and the mayor of London, Ontario from 1972 to 1978. She also served as controller on the city's Board of Control before and after her term as mayor.
She was born in Toronto in 1928 and educated at St. Clement's Girl's School and the University of Toronto where she completed a B.A. in Physical and Health Education in 1950. She trained as a teacher and taught in high schools in Ottawa, Hamilton and Edmonton.
After settling in London in 1965 with her husband and two children, she took courses at the University of Western Ontario towards a B.A. and began a master's program in urban studies. She participated in the founding of the Central London Association and the Urban League, a group that was designed to coordinate the efforts of local citizens' groups. She also became involved in the London Council of Women, serving on the committee which helped save the Broughdale Lands. Bigelow was active in local and provincial NDP organizations, serving as vice-president of the provincial party from 1968 to 1972. She organized several conventions for the party and was responsible for the Handbook for Municipal Politicians, published in 1968.
In 1969, she was elected to the Board of Control and when she was re-elected in 1971, she received the most votes out of all the controllers making her the deputy mayor. When mayor Fred Gosnell resigned for health reasons in February 1972 she took over as acting mayor. In March 1972, Bigelow was elected mayor by council and in 1973 she was elected mayor by the public in a general election. She was re-elected in 1974 and 1976 but was defeated in the 1978 election by Al Gleeson, an instructor at Fanshawe College.
As mayor, Jane Bigelow advocated for accessible day care, better public transit with special fares for senior citizens, neighbourhood improvement schemes, funding for the arts, more parks and better city planning. She was criticized for being uninterested in development. During her mayoralty, London received a triple A rating from two independent American organizations. In her last years of office, she became interested in financial planning and tax reform for municipalities. She was actively involved in several joint municipal-provincial organizations and represented London's interests at both higher levels of government. In 1974, she was invited with six other Canadian mayors to visit Israel and in 1976, she was a representative to the Habitat Conference and the Conference of Mayors held in Milan.
Some of the major issues during her term as mayor included the Talbot Square development, the London Regional Art gallery, the restoration of the Middlesex Court House and the possibility of siting a prison in London.
She was elected to the Board of Control in 1980 but did not run in 1982. She was later employed by Employment and Immigration Canada. She was honoured with several awards and recognitions for her public service.
Juliette Caillouette was born on November 7, 1930 in Meacham, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Ernest Caillouette of St. Arsene, QC and Olga Loiselle of Saskatchewan. She entered the congregation and and received her habit August 25, 1948, receiving her religious name of Sister Theresa Marie. She made her final vows on August 25, 1953.
Sister Theresa Marie obtained her BA Hons from the University of Western Ontario in 1954. In 1960, she earned her MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. She also earned her Ontario High School Specialist teaching certificate-permanent in the same year. She achieved her Alberta Permanent Professional teaching certificate in 1962. She completed postgraduate work in guidance at Fordham University in 1966, and in French at the Institut Catholique in Paris in 1967. She also attended training at Lutheran General Hospital with the Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies in Chicago from 1983-1984, completing one unit of the C.P.E (spiritual care training). Later, she trained at University Hospital in London, ON as a C.P.E. Resident, completing one basic and two advanced units.
Sister Theresa Marie taught at Mount St. Joseph Academy in London, ON from 1954- 1956, and then at a high school in Sarnia, ON from 1956-1960. She then moved to Edmonton, AB where she worked as a high school principal from 1960-1962. Returning to London in 1962, she again taught at Mount St. Joseph Academy until 1964, and then at Catholic Central High School from 1964-1967.
From 1967-1972, she served as vocation director and undertook formation work for the religious community, and from 1969-2007 was involved in spiritual direction and retreat work. Sister Theresa Marie served as a pastoral minister with St. Joseph's Parish in Sarnia from 1972-1979. She then took up a leadership role with the Sisters of St. Joseph in London and served as a General Councillor from 1979-1983. Beginning in 1984, she worked in pastoral care with St. Joseph's Hospital in Sarnia until 1985. She then became Manager of the Pastoral Care Department at the hospital, a role she remained in until 1987.
Returning to London, she was elected the General Superior from 1987-1995. During her time as the congregational leader, Sister Theresa Marie served as a board member with the St. Joseph's Health Centre in London from 1987-1995. During the same period, from 1991-1993, she was elected Vice-President of Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, and then President from 1993-1995. Overlapping with this position, she served as Vice-President of the Canadian Religious Conference from 1993-1995.
During her term as General Superior, missions opened in Fort Good Hope, NWT in 1989, in Faro, YT, Fort Liard, NWT and Deline (Fort Franklin), NWT in 1990, in Igloolik, NU in 1991, and in Lutselk'e, NWT, and Behchoko (Fort Rae), NWT in 1994. A Marriage Tribunal began in Toronto, and the Adult Spirituality Centre on Brock Street, Windsor, opened in 1994. Sister Theresa Marie was the chaplain for Windsor Regional Hospital in Windsor from 1996-2001. She served as a board member for the Hotel Dieu-Grace Hospital in Windsor from 1998-2001. After her retirement in March 2001, she worked in spiritual direction, pastoral counselling, and grief counselling until 2006. She also served as a member of the Canadian Medaille Team in 1967. She died on December 14, 2020.
Catherine Anne Campbell was born in Thorah Township, Brock Settlement, Ontario on November 17, 1840. Catherine Anne's parents were Kenneth A. Campbell (born ca. 1800, died 1877) and Anne McEwen (born 1803 in Scotland, died February 18, 1872). The family lived in the Brock Settlement in Ontario, situated southeast of Lake Simcoe. The first resident priest in the Settlement in 1855 was Rev. John Walsh, who was later named Bishop of London in 1867. Catherine's father was a farmer and was appointed postmaster in 1829 to carry mail on foot from Thorah to Whitby every two weeks to the store of Mr. J. B. Warren. As there were no postage stamps, he received a small amount of money from those for whom he carried letters or parcels.
Catherine Anne attended S. S. #1 School in Thorah Township. It was later known as Riverview or the "Swamp" school. On October 9, 1855, scarcely fifteen years of age and having never known a religious sister, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto at their Motherhouse on Power Street. However, homesickness overcame her and she asked for her father who came for her. As they were ready to leave, she decided to go to the Chapel for moment. She came out of the Chapel and told her father that she had changed her mind. He was said to be a little indignant, but he rejoiced at her remaining. She never experienced any more doubts about her vocation, and it taught her compassion for others who struggled in the same way.
Catherine Anne was formally received into the Congregation on May 3, 1856, and she was given the religious name, Sister Ignatia. The Reception ceremony was under the guidance of Mother Delphine Fontbonne, niece of Mother St. John, from whom she imbibed the spirit of the original foundation in LePuy, France. Mother Ignatia professed her vows on October 15, 1858. She taught elementary classes at St. Patrick's School in Toronto and in the separate schools of St. Catharines and Barrie. In 1867 Sister Ignatia was assigned to Thorold to teach in the Catholic school and named Superior of the newly opened Convent.
The following year Sister Ignatia travelled to London along with four other Sisters to establish a convent in response to a request from Bishop John Walsh. He announced to the parishioners of St. Peter's Parish that the Sisters would visit the sick and the poor, teach in the separate schools, visit prisoners, and establish an orphanage. They arrived on December 11, 1868, and settled in their first home which was situated on Kent Street. However before long they moved to Mount Hope to prepare the orphanage for seventeen orphans arriving October 2, 1869. On December 18, 1870, Bishop Walsh received the vows of the Sisters who were residing in London, establishing a separate Congregation and he appointed Sister Ignatia to be the General Superior. She was then known as Reverend Mother Ignatia Campbell. Mother Ignatia arranged for an Act of Incorporation which gave legal status to the London Community on February 15, 1871.
The children in the orphanage were Mother Ignatia's first concern and she did everything to clothe and feed them. She was known for her compassion and concern for the old people who came to live at Mount Hope. In order to meet all their needs a bazaar was organized at City Hall and three thousand dollars were realized.
A few hundred dollars was the salary of the Sister-teachers for the year, so Mother Ignatia and the Sisters canvassed the people of London and surrounding areas for food and clothing for the orphans. Mother Ignatia was always concerned for her Sisters who were entering and teaching in some of the separate schools in the city and surrounding towns. She arranged for lecturers to teach and assist the teachers.
At Bishop Walsh's request, Mother Ignatia discontinued the "lay" Sisters. Therefore, all new members were allowed to assume the regular habit.
She was known for her kindness to priests of the diocese as she opened Mount Hope to retreats and ordinations for the priests until the new St. Peter's Cathedral was completed in 1885.
Requests for teachers increased and Mother Ignatia opened a convent in Goderich where the Sisters taught in the school. As more requests came, Sisters were missioned to St. Thomas and Ingersoll to teach in the Catholic schools. As the Community, the number of orphans and the elderly at Mount Hope grew, the building became inadequate, and it was necessary to build. The official opening of the new building took place in 1877.
Mother Ignatia, who was worn out with the responsibilities of her position and anxiety over finances, was ordered to rest to regain her health so she travelled with Sister Francis O'Malley to Orillia where her brother, Rev. Kenneth Campbell was parish priest. While she was away, Sister Aloysia Nigh arranged for gas to be installed in the building and when Mother Ignatia returned the entire house was illuminated to welcome her home.
The Community celebrated Mother Ignatia's 25th anniversary in 1881. Her brother, Archdeacon Kenneth Campbell of Orillia, presented her with a silver Monstrance for the Chapel.
When the pleasure boat, "The Victoria," sank on the Thames River after leaving Springbank Park, Mother Ignatia sent Sisters, two by two, to visit and to help the families who had lost a loved one.
In 1884 she arranged for the Sisters to take charge of the domestic arrangements at Sandwich College, later known as Assumption College, where priests were educated. The Sisters of St. Joseph remained there until 1904.
Mother Ignatia was truly a dedicated apostolic religious. No matter how demanding her administrative duties, she was always attentive to the needs of the Sisters, especially the sick and suffering.
When the new St. Peter's Cathedral opened, Mother Ignatia and the Sisters hosted a banquet at Mount Hope for Bishop Walsh and his guests.
In 1887 there was an epidemic of "black diphtheria" at the orphanage. Two Sisters, who were with the orphans, remained quarantined with the sick for three months. Mother Ignatia initiated prayers to St. Roch during the epidemic as he was known as a protector from contagious diseases.
The Inspector of Charitable Institutions, Dr. W. T. O'Reilly encouraged Mother Ignatia to open a hospital in London. The first hospital in the former home of Judge W. T. Street across from Mount Hope, was opened in 1888. Another hospital was established in Chatham, ON when the vacant Salvation Army Barracks was leased for two years. The new hospital was built on King Street West and was formally opened and blessed on November 15, 1891.
Due to overcrowding at Mount Hope, the need to separate the children and the senior residents was the catalyst which encouraged Mother Ignatia to seek a new property. When Hellmuth Ladies College closed, she planted a statue on the grounds outside the gate and when it was announced that Norwood House, Hellmuth College, the Chapel and one hundred and forty acres of land were for sale, Mother Ignatia immediately sought the help of Mr. Philip Pocock who bought the property for her with the approval of the Administrator of the Diocese, Rev. Joseph Bayard. The Sisters began collecting for funds to repair the buildings. Another bazaar and orphans' benefit program helped to finance the project. After the blessing on April 26, 1900, Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, Novitiate and Orphanage officially opened. The task of moving one hundred and eight orphans across the river on the stepping stones where the bridge had been torn down, was a mammoth one, along with having to say goodbye to their first home at Mount Hope. She rejoiced though with the Sisters and orphans who were enjoying the invigorating air and scenic beauty of their new home, named Mount St. Joseph.
After Mother Ignatia sent two Sisters to study as graduate nursing specialists, the St. Joseph's Schools of Nursing at the London and Chatham hospitals were established.
Mother Ignatia, who had governed the Community for thirty-two years, from 1870-1902, resigned as General Superior and was elected first councillor in 1902. She resided at the Convent in St. Thomas. At her Golden Jubilee, which was celebrated on May 3, 1906, she was given a gold Chalice as a gift from the Community. Present for the celebration were her four nieces. Three were members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough and one was a member of the Loretto Sisters of Toronto.
Mother Ignatia lived in the Convent in St. Mary's when it opened in 1913. That same year, Convents were opened in Seaforth and Woodstock and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chatham was enlarged. The Motherhouse was moved to Sacred Heart Convent in 1914 which had been the Academy of the Sacred Heart Religious.
In 1916, Mother was honoured by the Community on her Diamond Jubilee. The celebration of three days, consisted of a Solemn High Mass each day, programs honouring her, and festivities celebrated at St. Joseph's Hospital, the House of Providence and Mount St. Joseph Orphanage.
In December 1918, the Community celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the coming of Sisters of St. Joseph to London. Mother Ignatia was present for the Mass and was the only living member who was with the original band of Sisters who arrived in London in 1868.
Mother Ignatia also observed the sixtieth anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Joseph to London. Mother Ignatia's death came on January 3, 1929, on the closing day of the Sisters' annual retreat. The Ceremony of Reception of the Habit which was to occur the next day was held as planned. The Vicar General reminded the postulants who were to receive the habit that they would never be called upon to make such sacrifices or experience such difficulties as Mother Ignatia had realized in her long religious life as pioneer and founder. "Her fingers had been worn and her Habit often frayed during her long years of charitable service."
The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of Hamilton was first incorporated on December 30, 1879 under chapter 167 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1877. The name was changed to The Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton in 1989.
On April 19, 1852, at the request of the Very Rev. E. Gordon, Vicar General of Hamilton and with the approval of Bishop de Charbonnel, the only Bishop in western Ontario at that time, three Sisters of St. Joseph came to Hamilton from Toronto. They opened their first convent on Cannon and McNab Streets. Here the Sisters ran a private elementary school and cared for orphans until 1857. In 1854, there was a cholera epidemic, followed by an outbreak of typhus. The Sisters were placed in charge of immigrants stricken with the disease and housed in railway sheds.
The Sisters founded St. Mary’s Orphanage in Hamilton in 1852. Orphan care began with two orphan girls in the first convent. Beginning in 1856, residential care was provided for girls at the Motherhouse. In 1857, a girls’ quarters opened in the convent at 204 Park Street. In 1864, a separate building was built for St. Mary’s Orphanage with additions in 1874, 1881, 1884, and 1886. Then from 1933-1935, a building owned by the diocese was purchased at 354 King Street West and used for orphan girls. In 1936, a new Mount St. Joseph at the same location opened for girls with both boys and girls in residence from 1951 to 1960. The Sisters also provided residential care for orphan boys at the Motherhouse from 1856-1879, and then at the House of Providence, Dundas, Ontario from 1879-1900. In 1903, an annex was built for boys at St. Mary’s, followed by a new building for boys at St. Mary’s Orphanage in 1909. After this, from 1951-1960, boys were housed at Mount St. Joseph. The first Orphans’ Festival was held in the town hall to raise money for orphans with annual collections in the district starting in the autumn of 1854. The Orphans’ Festival lasted until 1956.
In 1856, the Sisters were placed in charge of separate schools in Hamilton following the passage of the Separate School Bill. Also in 1856, Hamilton became a diocese and St. Joseph’s Convent opened on Park Street North as a Motherhouse and Novitiate, as the congregation became independent of the Toronto congregation. At the first Motherhouse, the Sisters cared for orphan girls, taught music, taught in the separate schools, visited hospitals, prisons, the sick and the poor, and served as sacristans, homemakers, and catechetics teachers. In 1858, the first election was held in St. Joseph’s Convent chapel with Sister Martha von Bunning elected as General Superior on December 8.
The Sisters founded their first mission outside Hamilton in Paris, Ontario in 1858, where they served as teachers, organists, sacristans, homemakers and catechetics teachers. This mission lasted until 1974. This was followed in 1859, by the first mission house in Brantford, Ontario on Crown Street, and then by other mission houses in Brantford until 1983. In Brantford, they also opened Bethany House, a ministry to abused women from 1989-1994. Over time, the Sisters opened many other mission houses including in Kenilworth (1924-1971), Mount Forest (1908-1932 and 1944-1978), Hespeler (1944-1961), Arthur (1873-1876 and 1986-1989), Kitchener (1977-), Milton (1954-1989), Stoney Creek (1957-), Oakville (1860-1863), Guelph (1977-1989), Owen Sound (1886-1909), Red Lake (1981-), Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation mission (Cape Croker) (1952-1986), and Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg (Pic Mobert) First Nation (2002-2020). In British Columbia, they opened missions at Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation (Fort St. James) (1950-1969), Fort St. John (1954-1988), Dawson Creek (1976-1982), Chetwynd (1977-1983), and Terrace (1988-1992).
The Sisters briefly ran a boarding school in for girls in Hamilton from 1860-1867. More notably, they founded St. Joseph’s Hospital in Guelph, Ontario in 1861, followed by the House of Providence in Guelph which was open from 1861-1959. In 1897, the Sisters started St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Guelph, and in 1948, opened a new school of nursing which lasted until 1972.
In 1878, the Sisters took charge of St. Vincent De Paul Society home on Bay Street in Hamilton for the care of the poor. After one year, the residents were transferred to the House of Providence. In 1879, the Sisters opened the House of Providence in Dundas. After a fire in 1900, it re-opened in 1902 and remained active until 1970. The year 1879 also saw the beginning of the House of Providence annual picnic on August 2. In 1970, the Sisters opened the new St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas, which replaced the former House of Providence.
In 1890, the Sisters founded St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton which had additions in 1894, 1916, 1941, 1947, 1951, and a new wing in 1962. This was followed by the opening of St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Hamilton which had its first nine graduates in 1915. The Sisters also opened a nurses’ residence for St. Joseph’s Hospital, called Undermount, on John Street in Hamilton. Later, in 1963, the Sisters opened St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, Fontbonne Hall. The nursing school closed in 1972.
In 1923, the Sisters founded Casa Maria maternity hospital in Hamilton which was replaced by the maternity wing at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1951. In 1924, The Sisters opened St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario. In 1931, St. Mary’s School of Nursing began in Kitchener, and remained active until 1972.
In 1951, the second Motherhouse, St. Joseph’s Convent was completed in Dundas. Here the Sisters served as teachers, music teachers, catechetics teachers, and established a spirituality centre for retreats, workshops, and spiritual direction in 1983.
In 1955, the Sisters founded St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brantford. This was followed in 1957 by the opening of St. Joseph’s Training Centre for Registered Nursing Assistants in Brantford, which closed in 1980.
In 1959, the Sisters unveiled St. Joseph’s Home in Guelph, and elderly people were moved into the second floor of the new building which contained a wing for the chronically ill. The programs and services were delivered in conjunction with St. Joseph’s Hospital.
In 1960, Mount St. Joseph in Hamilton became a home to treat emotionally disturbed children and the remaining orphans were moved to foster homes.
The Sisters also started overseas missions. In 1963, they opened a mission in Teculután, Guatemala, and worked at a health clinic, as teachers, and as catechetics teachers until 1979. Later, they opened a mission in Nicaragua which ran from 1985 to 1989.
In 1991, St. Joseph’s Community Health Centre opened in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Beginning in 1983 until 1991, the Sisters staffed and supervised Martha House, Good Shepherd Women’s Centre for abused women and homeless girls in Hamilton. The Neighbour to Neighbour Program, St. Joseph’s Women’s Immigrant Centre, and Hamilton Out of the Cold program are but three more recent local initiatives where the Sisters have been instrumental in the foundation of local social services.
On November 22, 2012, the congregation amalgamated with those in London, Peterborough, and Pembroke into one charitable corporation under the name Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Act, a Private Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which received Royal Assent on June 13, 2013.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of London, in Ontario was first incorporated on February 15, 1891 under chapter 92 of the Statutes of Ontario, 1870-1.
On December 11, 1868, at the request of Bishop John Walsh, five Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto arrived in London, Ontario. Mother Teresa Brennan, Sister Ignatia Campbell, Sister Ursula McGuire, Sister Francis O’Malley and Sister Appolonia Nolan were accompanied by Reverend Mother Antoinette McDonald and were welcomed by Bishop Walsh, Rev. J.M. Bruyere, V.G., and Rev. P. Egan, pastor of St. Peter’s Church. Awaiting the Sisters were sleighs that transported them from the train station to a temporary home at 170 Kent Street.
In accordance with their mission in London, three Sisters began teaching at St. Peter’s School in January, 1869. After classes, they visited the sick, the poor and the imprisoned. They were also mandated to open an orphanage in the future. In order to accomplish these tasks, more Sisters and larger facilities were necessary.
On October 2, 1869, the Barker House at the corner of Richmond and College Street in North London was purchased and the Sisters moved there from Kent Street. The building was named Mount Hope, and it became the first Motherhouse of the Sisters, eventually housing the elderly, orphans, Sisters and novices.
On December 18, 1870, the Sisters of St. Joseph became an autonomous congregation in the London diocese, independent of the Toronto congregation. Sister Ignatia Campbell was appointed Superior General, an office she held until 1902. On February 15, 1871, the congregation became legally incorporated.
On October 7, 1877, an addition was made to Mount Hope. This building stood until it was demolished on August 3, 1980, surrounded by the growing healthcare institutions founded by the Sisters, beginning with St. Joseph’s Hospital which opened at 268 Grosvenor Street on October 15, 1888, and followed by the opening of St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1895, and the construction of a new nursing school building in 1927, which saw its last graduation in 1977. On May 1, 1951, St. Mary’s Hospital was opened, followed by Marian Villa on January 12, 1966. In 1985, the hospital complex was renamed St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and ownership was transferred in 1993 to St. Joseph’s Health Care Society.
But it was not only in London that Sisters saw the need for healthcare and nursing education. On October 15, 1890, they opened St. Joseph’s Hospital on Centre Street in Chatham, Ontario, which remained under their control until 1993. In 1895, they opened St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing, which saw its last graduation in 1970. On October 18, 1946, they opened St. Jospeh’s Hospital at 290 North Russell Street in Sarnia which remained under their control until 1993. In Alberta, they administered St. Joseph’s Hospital in Stettler (1926), St. Joseph’s Hospital in Galahad (1927), the General Hospital in Killam (1930), and St. Paul’s Hospital in Rimbey (1932).
On April 10, 1899, the Sisters opened Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, Novitiate and Orphanage at the former Hellmuth College at 1486 Richmond Street North in London. The orphans were moved to this new location from Mount Hope, which remained a home for the elderly and was renamed House of Providence on June 3, 1899. The orphanage remained at Mount St. Joseph until it was moved to Fontbonne Hall in 1953 (to 1967). The original Hellmuth College building was demolished in 1976.
Later, on September 14, 1914, the Motherhouse and Novitiate moved to Sacred Heart Convent at Colborne and Dundas Streets in London, with the orphans remaining at Mount St. Joseph. The Sisters lived at Sacred Heart Convent until 1953, when they moved back to the newly built Mount St. Joseph, on the original location of the former Hellmuth College. The new Motherhouse and Novitiate was officially opened on June 29, 1954. It was here that they continued a private girls’ school which had begun in 1950 at Sacred Heart Convent, and was now known as Mount St. Joseph Academy (to 1985). It was here too that they continued a music school which had also begun at Sacred Heart Convent and was now called St. Joseph’s School of Music (to 1982). The Médaille Retreat Centre began here in 1992, and the Sisters also administered a Guest Wing for relatives of hospitalized patients (to 2005). The Sisters departed Mount St. Joseph for their new residence, a green building at 485 Windermere Road in London, in 2007.
On September 4, 1873, St. Joseph’s Convent opened at 131 North Street in Goderich, Ontario, followed by other convents in Ontario, including Ingersoll (1879), St. Thomas (1879), Belle River (1889), Windsor (1894), Sarnia (1906), Kingsbridge (1911), Seaforth (1913), St. Mary’s (1913), Woodstock (1913), Kinkora (1916), Paincourt (1923), Maidstone (1930), Leamington (1932), Delhi (1938), Tillsonburg (1938), Simcoe (1938), Langton (1939), West Lorne (1957), and Zurich (1963)
The Sisters also opened missions in other parts of Canada, including in Alberta: Edmonton (1922), Wetaskiwin (1929), St. Bride’s (1934); and in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Yellowknife (1953), and in British Columbia in Haney, now Maple Ridge (1956), and Rutland (1970). Branching even further afield, Convento San Jose was opened in Chiclayo, Peru in 1962.
Over the years, as well as their service as teachers in the separate school system, as music teachers, as healthcare workers, as nursing educators, in providing care to orphans, and in providing parish ministry, pastoral care, and administering spiritual retreats, the Sisters were also involved in social service ministry. In Windsor, they opened the Roy J. Bondy Centre on September 13, 1970 which was a receiving home for the Children’s Aid Society, withdrawing in 1982 but continuing to provide residential care for disabled children afterward. In London, they opened Internos, a residence for teenage girls attending school and later for troubled teens (to 1979). This was followed by the opening of St. Joseph’s Detoxification Centre on September 13, 1973 (to 2005) and St. Stephen’s House, an alcoholic recovery centre on February 1, 1982 (to 2000). Loughlin House in London opened as a residence for ex-psychiatric female patients in 1986 (to 1989), followed by the Home for Women in Need at 534 Queens Avenue in 1979 (to 2004). Later, St. Josephs’ House for Refugees was opened in 1987 (to 2005), followed by St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre, a food security program, on February 2, 1983.
On November 22, 2012, the congregation amalgamated with those in Hamilton, Peterborough, and Pembroke into one charitable corporation under the name Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Act, a Private Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which received Royal Assent on June 13, 2013.
The Sisters of St. Joseph for the Diocese of Pembroke in Canada was first incorporated by letters patent dated January 21, 1922 under the Ontario Companies Act.
In 1910, Sisters from Peterborough began teaching at St. Michael’s Parish school in Douglas, followed by Killaloe in 1915 and Mount St. Patrick in 1916, all three being small rural communities in Ontario. Eleven years later, on August 25, 1921, a new community was formed at Bishop Ryan’s request by 27 Sisters from Peterborough. 14 of these Sisters were already serving in Douglas, Killaloe, and Mount St. Patrick. Mother Vincent Carroll was elected General Superior.
The new community needed a motherhouse, and the O’Kelly farm was purchased by Bishop Ryan, giving the Sisters 40 acres of farmland and 107 acres of woods on the Ottawa River, along with an old farmhouse. On September 19, 1921 St. Joseph’s-on-the-Lake, the first Motherhouse, was officially opened and blessed by Father Dowdall. St. Joseph’s Convent, the first mission of the newly formed congregation, was established in Chapeau on August 27, 1921. Here the Sisters taught in the local school for many years. The Pembroke Sisters spread out throughout Ontario and Quebec, and even made their way westward to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Some other missions included Calabogie (1924), Campbell’s Bay (1925), Barry’s Bay (1928), Renfrew (1928), Sheenboro (1936), Madawaska (1936), Deep River (1948), Quyon (1951), Des Joachims (1958), Whitney (1958). Bancroft (1959), Ottawa (1962), and Petawawa (1962).
The General Superiors of the Congregation were elected from the ranks of the founding Sisters until 1945 when Mother Magdalen Donegan was elected. She had entered the Congregation in September 1923. At the peak of its membership growth, the Congregation numbered approximately 190.
After three decades, on September 15, 1952, Bishop Smith took part in the sod turning for a new Motherhouse. On April 26, 1953 he blessed the cornerstone. The new motherhouse officially opened on December 12, 1953 – providing a home for years to which Sisters could return from missions outside Pembroke. Many of the convents outside Pembroke housed teachers, as education was a significant ministry. The first classes held at St. Joseph’s Academy, a girls’ high school in Renfrew, on September 10, 1928. A new building was completed in 1940 and the school stayed open for almost three more decades. In October 1940, the Normal School, later St. Mary’s Teachers’ College, opened in Chapeau, and saw its last graduates in 1969. This ministry was unique to the Pembroke Sisters, as no other of our communities provided teacher training.
Following the original thread of the Sisters in Le Puy, the Pembroke Sisters served others in corporal works of mercy through healthcare. On July 25, 1946 Sisters arrived in Radville, Saskatchewan to establish the first hospital, which they administered until 1998. Ten years after opening the hospital, they founded Marian Home to provide long term care, and senior care. Sisters also went to Regina, where they opened Santa Maria Senior Citizens’ Home on October 12, 1968. On January 7, 1947 they assumed the administration and staffing of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Barrhead, Alberta from the Religious Hospitallers of St Joseph. This ministry lasted until 1978.
Closer to home, St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay, Ontario was opened on October 25, 1960. This hospital was also staffed by the Sisters. Sr. Rosenda Brady, who administered this hospital, later took charge of Valley Manor, a senior’s home in Barry’s Bay, which opened on June 23, 1978. On August 24, 1968, Sisters arrived to administer and staff St. Joseph’s Manor, a home for senior citizens, in Campbell’s Bay, Québec, where they remained until 1982.
There was only a short-lived ministry of orphan care at Villa St. Joseph in Renfrew from 1940 to 1947. In a spirit of adventure, the Sisters set sail to South America on April 17, 1964, to found St. Joseph’s Convent in Chincha Alta, Peru. On the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, November 2, 1964, they opened Clinica San Martin. In the spring of the following year, on April 1, 1965, the parish school opened in Chincha Alta. Classes began at Colegio San Jose in March 1970. On January 1, 1966 Clinica Tom Dooley opened in Chincha Baja.
Still following the thread of the Sisters in Le Puy, the Pembroke Sisters served others in spiritual works of mercy through parish work and spiritual development ministry. On August 15, 1978, Sisters began parish ministry in Penticton (to 1984). In September 1969, St. Joseph Centre, a renewal centre in Chapeau, opened for a brief period, followed in July 1989 by Stillpoint House of Prayer in Springtown, which has seen decades of service.
On November 22, 2012, the congregation amalgamated with those in Hamilton, London, and Peterborough into one charitable corporation under the name Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Act, a Private Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which received Royal Assent on June 13, 2013.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of Peterborough was incorporated on May 1, 1893 under chapter 172 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1887.
In 1890, the Peterborough diocese stretched from the shores of Lake Ontario northward, and westward beyond the western end of Lake Superior by a hundred miles or more. Bishop R.A. O’Connor, Bishop of Peterborough, felt a need for a diocesan congregation which would devote its energies to the educational and health needs of his huge diocese. He discussed the matter with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, with the result that, in 1890, 20 sisters of the Toronto congregation formed a new congregation in the diocese of Peterborough. Mother Austin Doran was elected General Superior.
The task facing the new congregation was monumental. It had been arranged that they would assume the Academy, a high school for girls in Lindsay, Ontario, and staff the newly opened St. Joseph’s Hospital in Peterborough, Ontario, as well as the existing houses in Cobourg, Ontario and at the head of Lake Superior. To further complicate the task, the new hospital was to care not only for the sick, but also for 40 of Peterborough’s elderly poor who were at the time residents of the House of Providence in Toronto.
Fifteen new members joined the congregation during the first year, and the foundation prospered, although poverty weighed heavily. With growing numbers, a new residence on the outskirts of Peterborough, Mount St. Joseph, was opened in 1895. In the same year, the new congregation began its teaching apostolate in the city of Peterborough. A House of Providence was established in 1900 to accommodate not only the elderly poor, but orphans of the diocese.
The growing congregation led to the formation of two daughter congregations. In 1921, the 27 sisters in three mission houses located in the diocese of Pembroke were, at the request of Bishop Ryan, formed into a new congregation with the Motherhouse in Pembroke. In 1936, the bishop of Sault Ste. Marie announced the formation of a new congregation for his diocese, and thus 120 Peterborough sisters became founding members of the new congregation.
Through the years, the Sisters have served, primarily in education and health care, in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. They have also served abroad in Brazil, Honduras, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and the Far East.
Mount St. Joseph, the building that served as the Motherhouse since 1895, had become much more than the Sisters currently needed. After prayerful discernment and careful planning, a new Motherhouse, built to the latest environmental standards, was opened in 2009 beside the historic former Motherhouse, which has been repurposed to serve the Peterborough community.
In spite of decreasing numbers, the closing of convents and the handing over of well-established institutions, the Sisters continue to serve in areas throughout Canada. In their response to changing times and their charism of reaching out to those in need, new ministries call the Sisters forth: they network with other groups who share their mission to the most needy, and offer congregational support to some of the most urgent needs of our society, including adequate shelter for the aged, the homeless, women in need and refugees. They are present on boards that struggle to provide adequate housing for the poor, and volunteer in parishes, health care facilities and organizations that respond to current needs. Fostering spiritual growth is the work of two houses in Ontario: St. Joseph’s Villa in Cobourg and the Upper Room Home of Prayer in Ottawa. Sisters are dedicated to raising awareness about ecology and earth literacy. In this time of transition, The Sisters endeavour to be faithful to the same charism that called the first Sisters to risk all for the sake of love.
On November 22, 2012, the congregation amalgamated with those in Hamilton, London, and Pembroke into one charitable corporation under the name Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Act, a Private Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which received Royal Assent on June 13, 2013.
Josephine Hildegarde Coughlin was born in Mount Camel, Ontario on December 30, 1887 to Bartholomew Coughlin and Johanna Curtin. One of her sisters, Nora (1884-1957), also joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of London and took on the religious name Sister St. Francis. Josephine entered the congregation and received her habit on June 24, 1909. She was given the religious name Sister Margaret and professed her vows on September 16, 1911, in the Chapel of St. Anne at Mount St. Joseph, London, Ontario. After completing senior high school, she attended Ottawa Normal School and graduated in 1913. She then taught in St. Thomas, London, and Woodstock and was appointed the community’s Supervisor of Schools, a position she held for 11 years. In 1945, Sister Margaret transferred to St. Patrick’s High School in Sarnia where she took charge of building an expansion of the original school.
In 1947 she was elected as General Superior. During Mother Margaret’s term as General Superior a great many projects were initiated. Among them were St. Joseph’s House of Studies, which opened for Sisters in studies at London’s University of Western Ontario; property at 353 and 534 Queens Avenue was purchased as a residence for Sisters; Sisters were missioned to housekeeping duties at the Holy Family Retreat House which the Diocese opened in Oxley, on Lake Erie; St. Mary’s Hospital building project was completed and opened in 1951; Catholic Central High School was opened and a private school at Sacred Heart Convent began; a summer home was purchased in Kingsville for the Sisters; a new mission for Sisters in Yellowknife, NT was established; Holy Rosary Convent in Windsor was purchased to replace the overcrowded Cadillac Street convent; two Sisters went to Ireland to seek new candidates; an aspirancy was opened to train young women interested in becoming Sisters; St. Joseph’s House of Studies was opened in Windsor; new Constitutions were approved and sod was turned for a new Motherhouse at Mount St. Joseph.
Under Mother Margaret Coughlin, the “Ireland project” was initiated and Sisters were sent to Ireland in the hopes of recruiting young women interested in joining the congregation. The Superiors’ Institute was initiated in 1958 along with a tertianship program for Sisters, and held at Holy Rosary Convent in the summer with Rev. Embser, C. S. B, assisted by Sister Mary Angela Flaherty. In 1950, Mother Margaret and Sister Placidia Walsh went on a Holy Year pilgrimage to Rome, Italy, and visited the Sisters of St. Joseph in Le Puy and Lyon, France, to celebrate the Sisters of St. Joseph’s tercentenary. During her trip to Rome, she consulted with Monsignor Elio Gambari concerning papal approbation of the congregation’s rule, and as a result the Constitutions received Pontifical Approbation on July 11, 1953.
Mother Margaret Coughlin was deeply involved in the designing of the chapel of the new Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. It was she who insisted the windows from the old chapel should be incorporated into the new one. In designing the Chapel, her love of the Eucharist shone through as she worked with the architect and artisans to produce a masterpiece of artistry from the wrought iron grill, the pews and sanctuary furnishings which all bore hand-carved grapes and wheat design, symbolic of the Eucharist. The formal opening of the new Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse on June 20, 1954, presented to the people of London a building with heraldic towers and a beautiful chapel with stained glass windows personally chosen by her in consultation with the artist, Guido Polloni, of Florence, Italy.
The Superiors’ Institute was initiated in 1958 along with a tertianship program for Sisters, held at Holy Rosary Convent in the summer with Rev. Embser, C.S.B., assisted by Sister Mary Angela Flaherty. When Sister Julia Moore was elected General Superior in 1962, Mother Margaret remained as an elected Council member. She encouraged the opening of the first foreign mission in Cayalti, Chiclayo Diocese in Peru. A new regional house, St. Joseph’s Convent, was opened in Edmonton, AB. She helped to plan for Ignatia Hall - a home for the senior Sisters and the sick, which was completed in 1969. It was she who suggested that Ignatia Hall be so named since Mother Ignatia must not be forgotten. Mother Margaret died on December 2, 1980.
Adelaide Teresa Dunn was born the youngest daughter of William Dunn and Bridgid O’Boyle in Toronto, Ontario in 1877. Her sister Mary Ellen became a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and was given the religious name Sister Norberta. Adelaide entered the congregation and was received into the community on August 21, 1906, at Mount St. Joseph and was given the religious name, Sister Constance. On August 28, 1908, she professed her vows in the Chapel of St. Anne at Mount St. Joseph, London, received her habit at the Sisters of St. Joseph of London August 21, 1906, and was given the religious name Sister Constance. She professed her vows on August 28, 1908.
Sister Constance was trained as a teacher and received several degrees before she entered the Community. After becoming a member of the London community, she taught in various schools in London Diocese. She was also named Superior in the convents where she lived, in Seaforth, Sarnia and Windsor and at Sacred Heart Convent in London in 1947. From 1935 until 1947 Sister Constance served as the community’s sixth General Superior. During her term of office Sister Constance opened missions in Delhi, Simcoe, Tillsonburg and Langton. She encouraged the formation of the School of Christ radio broadcast from the Chapel of Sacred Heart Convent in 1939 in London which was initiated by Rev. W. Flannery of the London Diocese. After her term as General Superior she was named Superior at Mount St. Joseph Orphanage. She died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London on June 16, 1956.
Fanny Rankin Appleton was born in Epping, UK in 1827. She was the daughter of Mary Ann Rankin and Joseph Appleton. When Joseph died, Fanny’s mother married George Conrad Gross around 1840. When Fanny’s mother died a few years later, George returned home to Leer, Germany with Fanny, her sister and brother, and his two daughters.
Sometime between the death of her mother and 1850, Fanny and George were married. They moved to New York where George ran a grocery store. After the death of a baby boy, the couple moved to Whitby to be closer to Fanny’s sister, Emma and George’s daughter, Caroline. Fanny and George enjoyed a privileged life in Whitby and were well-connected in the community. George ran a hardware store in downtown Whitby and built a castle-like residence nearby. According to local lore, Fanny was known as the 'Duchess of Whitby.'
Fanny and George had 10 children. She died at Whitby in 1900 and is buried in Union Cemetery, Oshawa.
Born Mary Margaret Ferris in London in 1931, Sister Margaret Ferris is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, who spent much of her life furthering her education and ministry. In particular, she was a reformer and innovator of prayer, community involvement, and spiritual direction at the Congregation. She also published a book titled Compassioning: Basic Counselling Skills for Christian Caregivers in 1993, and various articles pertaining to spiritual direction and community living and involvement.
Sister Margaret Ferris was involved in her local parish at an early age and was especially encouraged in her faith by her grandmother, who lived with the Ferris family. At a young age she began to consider entering religious life. She completed upper school at St. Angela’s College in 1950 and was a member of the first class to ever graduate from Catholic Central High School in 1951. At age 22, after working as a legal secretary, she joined the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. After the completion of her novitiate, she attended the University of Western Ontario where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1959, and Master’s degree in Education in 1977. In 1959, she began her teaching career as a high school teacher.
She continued to advance in her career in the 1960s. She became vice-principal of St. Patrick’s High School in Sarnia in 1963, and then principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy in 1966. During the 1960s, she continued to further her own education. She studied during the summer months at the University of Notre Dame. There she received a Master’s degree in Science in 1968. She also became a leader of spiritual renewal at the Congregation, which resulted in a strengthening of her own prayer life.
In 1972, she resigned as principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy, and with three other Sisters, established Internos, a home for troubled teenage girls, who experienced family difficulties or substance abuse. Her ministry evolved as she became exposed to and involved in family and community life. In 1977, she became Director of the Congregation’s Medaille Retreat House. During this time, she was also completing her Master’s degree in Counselling at the University of Western Ontario part-time. During this time, she continued to broaden her experience and understanding of spiritual direction and contemplative spirituality.
In 1978, she was elected to the Congregation’s General Council while still maintaining her position at the Retreat House where she worked alongside individuals of other Christian denominations. In 1984, she studied for a year at the Institute for Creation-Centred Spirituality in California where she obtained a Master’s degree in Spirituality and Culture. She marks this as the richest experience of community in her life, which strengthened and broadened her own spiritual understanding and life.
When she returned to London in 1985, she was asked to join St. Peter’s Seminary as a faculty member in the positions of teacher, counsellor, and Formation Director for Lay Ministry. She was the first woman professor to work full-time at St. Peter’s Seminary. This was another fulfilling experience for Sister Margaret Ferris as she was able to influence the development of the Church and to empower the laity. She held this position for over ten years. In 1992 she obtained her Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction at the Graduate Theological Foundation, and in 2007 she received an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the same institution.
Sister Margaret Ferris also dedicated a portion of her life to travelling. From 1959-1963, she made various trips around Ontario and northern U.S.A. In 1981, she travelled to Peru and Florida. In 1990, she and other Sisters visited Rome where she also met Pope John Paul II and received a rosary from him. In 2003, she made a pilgrimage to Le Puy, France, from where the Sisters of St. Joseph originally came. In 2004, she was honoured as one of the seven Golden Jubilarians in the Congregation. She died in 2017.
Cathleen Flynn was born in London, Ontario on May 1, 1933. She entered the congregation on July 1, 1951, and received her habit on January 3, 1952. She made her final vows on January 3, 1957. Her religious name was Sister Mary Brendan. She was the daughter of Timothy Flynn and Mary McNally both of Ireland. Cathleen attended St. Mary's Elementary School, St. Angela's College, and Catholic Central High School in London, ON.
While in the novitiate, Sister Mary Brendan completed her teacher training at London Teachers' College in 1955. She then earned her BA at Assumption University in Windsor, ON, followed by her MA at Manhattanville College in New York, NY in 1967. She completed her STM in (Masters in Sacred Theology) at Regis College in Toronto in 1983, and her PhD in Ministry, also at Regis College in 1990.
From 1955-1961, Sister Mary Brendan was a teacher and principal in Windsor. She returned to London and taught at the same high school she had attended in her youth, from 1961-1963. She then served as Mistress of Novices at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse in London from 1964-1971. As a member of the Commission of Religious, Sister Mary Brendan made a significant contribution to Synod II of the Diocese of London in 1969. She was then elected General Superior, a position she held from 1971-1979. As Superior General, Mother Mary Brendan was a member of the boards of the community's hospitals in London, Chatham, and Sarnia. The varied works of the Sisters involved her in separate school education as well as the private Mount St. Joseph's Academy and St. Joseph's School of Music in London. She was also involved in health care, social work, pastoral care, the mission field in the NWT and in Peru, care of the aged, and retreat programs.
Sister Cathleen then worked as the Assistant Director of Continuing Education at Regis College in Toronto from 1983-1986. While a student in the Doctor of Ministry Program at Regis College, she worked as the Director of Continuing Education from 1986-1990, and upon graduation, continued in this role until 2000. She then became the Director of the Master of Arts Degree program at Regis College in 2000, and then the Vice President of Regis College from 2001-2002. She served on the Board of Governors at Regis College from 2000-2005. Sister Cathleen also served on the Faculty Council, Academic Council, and Dean's Council at Regis College in 1996, on the Appointment and Rank Committee in 1998, as Vice Chair of the Academic Council in 2003, and was appointed Professor Emerita from 2007-2008. Sister Cathleen died on February 13, 2020.
Sister Eveline Gagner was born in Chatham, Ontario on July 3, 1917. She was one of five children born to Dieudonne Gagner of Tilbury, Ontario and Marie Helene Caron of Dover Township, Kent County, Ontario. Her sister, Viola Marie Blanche, also entered the Congregation, and was given the religious name Yvonne.
Sister Eveline received her B.A. from Assumption University, Windsor in 1963, and her M.A. in Theology from the University of Windsor in 1972. She received a diploma from Lumen Vitae in Brussels. Following this, she received the Attestation d’Etudes: Recherche en Catéchèse from the University of Montreal in 1967. Three years later, in 1970, she received her Attestation d’Etudes: Perfectionnement en Religion from the University of Sherbrooke. Sister Eveline attended the EXODUS program in St. Louis Missouri, during a sabbatical period in 1988.
As well as her academic training, Sister Eveline holds her permanent teaching certificates for French and English. She taught from 1939 to 1979 in separate schools in Ontario, in London, Windsor, Belle River and Sarnia, and held positions as principal as well during this time. From 1969 to 1973, she served as the religion consultant for the Roman Catholic Separate School Board in Windsor, Ontario. From 1979 to 1982 Sister Eveline worked in the field of adult faith education as a catechist in the Stratford Deanery, followed by pastoral ministry at St. Andrew’s Parish in London from 1982 to 1988. Sister Eveline served as a volunteer in various capacities, including as a hospital visitor and ministering to the poor.
Sister Mary Anthony Hartleib (nee Mary Anne Lenore) was born in Stratford, Ontario on February 10, 1924. She was the daughter of Charles Henry Hartleib and Loretta Durand. Her stepmother was Mary Hartleib of Waterloo, Ontario. Mary Anne Lenore Hartleib joined the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, Ontario and received the habit on July 2, 1965. She made her final vows on May 30, 1971 in the Chapel at Mount St. Joseph. She was given the religious name Sister Mary Anthony. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in art and theology at the University of Windsor in 1969, and then studied at Althouse College in London, Ontario. Sister Mary Anthony received a permanent teaching certificate in 1972, a supervisor’s certificate in art, and a teaching certificate in art and English. From 1970 until 1981, she supervised the art department at Mount St. Joseph Academy in London. She was appointed assistant bursar at Mount St. Joseph, but continued with art and the teaching of ceramics until 1985 when her art work took a new turn. Always interested in the spiritual, Sister Mary Anthony turned to iconography. She spent two years studying Chinese water colour painting, followed by three years of iconography. She was a scholar, a skilled teacher of art, and a passionate advocate of the way icons open the mystery of the sacred. Sister Mary Anthony became well known as an iconographer and maintained a studio in the Sisters’ residence after Mount St. Joseph Academy closed. For several years, she shared her knowledge of iconography with the seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary in London. The community of the Sisters of St. Joseph moved to 485 Windermere Road in 2007, where Sister Mary Anthony occupied her own art studio. Three of her icons, including that of the Blessed Trinity, were placed in the Chapel at the new residence. After a very short illness, Sister Mary Anthony died in the care centre at the Sisters’ Residence on June 23, 2008. Her funeral Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in St. Joseph Chapel in the residence at 485 Windermere Road. Father Frank O’Connor of St. Peter’s Seminary was the main celebrant. Sister Mary Anthony was buried in St. Peter’s cemetery in London.
Sister Marie Celine Janisse was born in Windsor, Ontario on February 13, 1928. She was one of the seven children of Norman Janisse and Eva Tino, both of Windsor. She had her reception at Sacred Heart Convent in London, Ontario on August 25, 1946. Her first profession was August 25, 1948, and her final profession was August 25, 1951.
Sister Marie Celine received a Fine Art diploma from the Institute of Pedagogy, Montreal in 1952-53. She was awarded her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1969.
Sister Marie Celine served as a parish worker in Peru from August 2, 1983 to December 1, 1994. Upon her return to Canada, she was involved in Heart-Links, an organization started by the Sisters of St. Joseph to support community development in Peru. She returned to Peru from 1998 to 2000 to work for Heart-Links. After this, she served on pastoral and art projects with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Pembroke mission to Chincha, Peru from 2001 to 2003, and then again with Heart-Links in London from 2003 to 2007. Sister Marie Celine also served in Nicaragua as part of the Hurricane Mitch Response, for three months from 1998-1999.
Sister Mary Leo Kirwin was born Mary Margaret Kirwin in Ingersoll, Ontario on January 7, 1922 to Leo Joseph Kirwin and Mae Henesey. Mary attended Sacred Heart School from 1936-1940 and Ingersoll Collegiate Institute from 1940-1942. She then completed her teacher training at London Normal School from 1941-1942. After earning her teaching certificate, she spent the summer of 1942 working in a munitions factory, but began teaching in September of that year. Her teaching career began at RCSS #2 in Clinton, Ontario. She then taught at Sacred Heart School in Ingersoll from 1944-1946, and later moved to St. Mary’s School from 1946-1947. On July 2, 1947, Mary Kirwin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and received the habit on January 3, 1948. She took the name Sister Mary Leo. She took her final vows on January 3, 1953.
Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin worked as a teacher from 1950-1953 at the Holy Rosary School in London, Ontario. From 1953-1957, she served at this school as the principal. She moved to Simcoe to be a teacher and principal at St. Mary’s Catholic School from 1957-1961. During this time, Sr. Mary Leo also attended the University of Western Ontario and obtained her B.A. in 1958. From 1961-1965, she taught at St. Louis School, Riverside in Windsor. She remained in Windsor from 1965 to 1967, where she taught at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School. She then returned to London and became a teacher and head of the home economics department at Mount St. Joseph Academy from 1969-1983. While she was teaching in London, she graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Specialist in Home Economics in 1980.
In 1983, Sr. Mary Leo was called to move to Edmonton to serve as the General Superior of St. Joseph’s Convent and act as coordinator of Western Houses, a role in which she served until 1989. While living at the Edmonton Regional House in 1987, Sister Mary Leo became involved with the People In Need Shelter Society during a housing crisis. Along with Sister Alice Caswell and Sister Olga Barilko, she worked with disabled people. She also worked with the poor alongside Sister Esther Lucier. Her involvement grew and eventually the Society named a house for homeless men and women after her (the Kirwin Lucier House). From 1989-1991, she took up a new role at Elizabeth Place, a home for needy women in Edmonton. She was also involved with the Elizabeth Fry Society where she worked with prison women doing handiwork and visiting. In 1991, she returned to London, where she served as the general treasurer at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse until 1998. In addition, she was on the local leadership council. Although she retired in 1998, Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin still provided relief for Sr. Veronica Cooke at Elaine Lucas Place from 1999-2001. The Elaine Lucas Place in London is a 45 bed residence for the homeless on Little Simcoe Street with which Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin was affiliated.
Sr. Mary Leo was involved in many committees throughout her life, including the Elizabeth Fry Society in Edmonton, L.I.F.T. Housing in London, and the Congregational bursary, donations, and strategic planning committees. She was also a community representative on the Red Cross Board.
One of her lasting contributions was her work with a low-income housing organization in Edmonton, the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society. The society opened its first project, a five-bedroom house in the McCauley neighbourhood and 30 years later, the year Sr. Mary Leo died, the same Edmonton Inner City Housing Society had grown to the point where it owned and managed more than 20 housing developments. These houses provided shelter for individuals and families, and supported 500 people in 300 housing units in inner city neighbourhoods.
Sr. Mary Leo also, as a result of visiting at Edmonton Women’s Prison, saw the need for post-incarceration housing for women. The Congregation bought a house, known as Elizabeth House, with a Sister serving as housemother. Later, they purchased another house called Tess’s House, with Sister Theresa Carmel Slavik serving as housemother for at risk young adults.
The Kirwin-Lucier House, which opened in 1993 in Edmonton, is a housing project of the Edmonton People in Need Shelter Society and provides a home for people with chronic mental disorders or substance abuse. It was named after Sisters Mary Leo Kirwin and Esther Lucier for their contributions to the society and its clients.
Sister Mary Leo was an expert at needlework, sewing of all kinds, quilting, upholstery, caning, and gardening. In 1976, her students at Mount St. Joseph Academy made an Olympic quilt which was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau. She continued making at least two quilts each year with a friend from the low cost housing development in London, until her death.
Sr. Mary Leo died November 26, 2015 in London, Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in London, Ontario.
Mary Lillian Kuntz was born in London, Ontario on December 30, 1935. She was the daughter of Edward J. Kuntz and Margaret H. Ward. Mary Lillian attended St. Angela’s School in London from 1949-1950, and then Catholic Central High School in London from 1950-1953. She entered the Congregation on July 2, 1953 and received the habit and her religious name Dolores on January 3, 1954. She took her final vows on January 3, 1961. Sister Mary Lillian trained at London Teachers’ College from 1956-1957. Later, she attended the University of Windsor, obtaining her B.A. in 1965. This was followed by the completion of an M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University in New York in 1976. Almost a decade later, she completed a B.A. and J.C.L. in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa in 1985.
Sister Mary Lillian served as a teacher and principal in London from 1957-1972. She spent the summer of 1969 in Uganda, teaching mathematics to teachers. She then moved to Yellowknife, where she was principal at St. Patrick’s High School until 1977. During her time in the north, she also served as a bursar for the local religious community. She returned to London, and taught high school mathematics from 1978-1981. She then worked as an administrator at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse from 1981-1983.
Following this, Sister Mary Lillian studied canon law in Ottawa from 1983-1985, and then received several canonical appointments. She was the Associate Judge and substitute Defender of the Bond for the Vancouver Regional Tribunal, working through the Nelson, B.C. office in 1984. She then served as Judge and Defender of the Bond for the Nelson Marriage Tribunal after it became a distinct Diocesan Tribunal in 1985. She was appointed to the Disability Pension Committee for the Diocese of Nelson in 1985. In 1987, she was appointed Judge, Auditor and Notary on the Marriage Tribunal in Nelson. She held this position until 1993, when she also became the Director of the Marriage Tribunal. In 1996, she became the Director of the Nelson-Kamloops Interdiocesan Tribunal, still serving as a Judge and Auditor.
Sister Mary Lillian held other positions of service, including on the Diocesan Synod Steering Committee, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Committee, and the Cathedral Liturgy Committee. She was the treasurer for the Sisters’ Council in the Diocese of Nelson. Sister Mary Lillian was also a world traveller.
Sister Mary Lillian died on October 23, 2015 in London Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, in the same city.
The London and Area Council of Women was founded on February 14, 1894 as the Local Council of Women, London. In 1990, a motion was passed by the executive to change the name of the council from the London Council of Women (LCW) to the London and Area Council of Women (LACW). The objective of the council is, “To draw together the women of London in greater unity of thought, sympathy and purpose to further the application of the Golden Rule to society, for the development, improvement and happiness of mankind.” The logo of the council is a bow bearing the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would that they do unto you.”
The LACW is comprised of individual members and members of its federated organizations which include women's groups, service clubs and volunteer organizations. The president of each federated organization is named a vice-president of the LACW executive and has a single vote. The executive of the LACW also includes a president, an executive vice-president and elected and appointed officers who hold positions such as treasurer, secretary, registrar and standing committee officers.
The LACW is part of a hierarchical organization of Councils of Women, answering to the Provincial Council of Women of Ontario (PCWO) and the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC). The NCWC is a member of the International Council of Women (ICW).
Throughout its history, the LACW has held regular meetings and organized events to encourage political engagement, educate the public on various issues of importance to women, raise funds and promote culture and heritage. In addition to this, the LACW has been active in lobbying the municipal, provincial and federal governments. As a member of the PCWO and the NCWC, the LACW proposed resolutions which were debated, voted on and formalized into briefs which were submitted annually to the provincial and federal governments.
Clara McCarthy was born in London, Ontario in 1857 to Denis McCarthy and Ellen O’Keefe. Clara McCarthy received her habit on August 10, 1878, in the first ceremony in the new chapel at Mount Hope, London, and was given the religious name Sister Celestine. She professed her vows at the same chapel on August 25, 1880.
Sister Celestine was among the first Sisters to staff the Catholic school in St. Thomas in 1879. In 1891 she was appointed director of novices and served in this position for the next three years. Sister Celestine was assigned as administrator at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham, Ontario in 1902. She held that position until 1911, when she was elected General Superior of the London congregation. Mother Celestine was responsible for establishing the new wing at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham and the Kingsbridge, Kinkora, Seaforth, St. Mary’s, and Woodstock convents. In 1913, while Mother Celestine was General Superior, the Sisters took charge of Sacred Heart School on Queens Avenue from the Religious of the Sacred Heart. In 1914 she oversaw the purchase of Sacred Heart Convent in London from the Religious of the Sacred Heart which became the third Motherhouse of the Sisters in London. Mother Celestine was also responsible for the Congregation’s Act of Incorporation which was passed by the House of Commons in 1915. She ended her last term in office in 1917 and died on October 11, 1940.