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Archival description
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CA ON00279 F01-S010 · Series · 1982-2013

The series consists of records kept by the General Superior office for use in the administration of the community in London, Ontario. Material is primarily from the period during which Sister Margo Ritchie held the office, but it also contains material from when Sister Mary Diesboug and Sister Valerie Van Cauwenburghe held the position. This series contains twelve subseries relating to the operations, missions, and activities of the congregation. This includes the Medaille Retreat House, Josephs’ House, the Detox Centre, My Sister’s Place, St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre, Elizabeth Place, St. Stephen’s House, the Southdown Project, Holy Rosary House in Windsor, the Goderich convent, and the Sisters of St. Joseph in Alberta. There is also material related to the hospitals in London, Sarnia, and Chatham administered by the Sisters and the transfer of operation of said hospitals to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and St. Joseph’s Health Care Society. There is material related to the construction of a new residence, especially concerning the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the new building, and relocation of the Sisters from Mount St. Joseph to this new residence.

There is also material related to the various meetings of the congregation, from the more informal Community Days to the more formal Assemblies and Chapters. Chapters are formal congregational meetings where major decisions, such as amalgamation and leadership positions were voted on. There are voting records from the 2011 Special Chapter and the 2009 Oneness Project in this series. There are also reports from the Leadership Circle, Chapters, and committees within the congregation. There is also material from the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada, an organization made up of all the Congregations of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada. There is material from the Federation and the London congregation’s systemic justice efforts and the Sisters’ efforts towards concerning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There are various newsletters from the Federation and the London congregation. The series also includes administrative correspondence and speeches presented by the General Superior to the congregation.

In summary, the series contains letters, reports, speeches, minutes, voting records, newsletters, pamphlets, prayer books, agendas, meeting minutes, memorandums, postcards, photographs, correspondence, timelines and schedules, inventory lists, legal documents, meeting minutes, executive summaries, budget reports, reports, newspaper and magazine clippings, bursary reports, histories, bulletins, designs for stained glass windows, and property appraisals.

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Donations series
CA ON00279 F01-S131 · Series · 1995-2017

The series contains records documenting the various activities of the London Donations Committee. These include charitable donations in Canada and abroad, educational bursaries given predominantly to community members in London and southwestern Ontario, as well as donor awards and recognitions received by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Records include administrative correspondence, annual reports, newsletters, press clippings, a magazine, photographs, certificates, and a plaque.

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CA ON00279 F01-S127 · Series · 1943-1971

Series contains of bulletins, newsletters, and newspaper clippings discussing the School of Christ program. It also contains a variety of photographs depicting its participants and organizers. There is one audio cassette of Sister Mary Margaret Childs, director of the senior choir, talking about her memories of the program, and one vinyl plaque presented to Sisters Mary Margaret Childs and Maureen Dalton from a group of alumni.

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Sacred Heart Convent series
CA ON00279 F01-S124 · Series · 1914-2008

Series contains Sister Norita Keenan’s single page memoir, a postulant requirement list, souvenir booklet of the Diamond Jubilee, chaplain list, meal seating plan, farewell ceremony agenda and schedule, photographs, land and property maintenance receipts, property sketch, chronology of property transfers and sales, rededication ceremony program and speech, letter from General Superior to Sisters, decorative Christmas card and envelope with list of donors of a car, newspaper clippings, student created books, and Bach sheet music owned by Cesar Borre.

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The Hope Project series
CA ON00279 F01-S110 · Series · 1995-1996, 2009-2010

This series contains records relating to the administration for The Hope Project in London, Windsor, and Edmonton, and 61 applications for grants from the London Hope Project. The records include correspondence, brochures, notes, photographs, newspaper clippings, budget records, a booklet, applications, receipts, and business cards.

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Renewal Programs series
CA ON00279 F01-S106 · Series · 1974, 1980-1981

This series contains records that pertain to the renewal programs held in the summers of 1974, 1980 and 1981. The program included times of reflection, communal study and teaching presentations. This series includes photographs, a newspaper article, event programs, prepared sermons, lists of attendees, teaching guides, personal reflections, speaking notes, planning committee minutes, a facility map, agendas for meetings and renewal sessions, correspondence and bibliographies.

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CA ON00279 F01-S125 · Series · 1868-2005, predominant 1929-1980

Series contains correspondence, deeds, photographs, and newspaper articles about Mount Hope Motherhouse in London, Ontario before its purchase and while it was operating. Earliest records include a report card from 1868, a letter dated 1869, and an original deed of land dated 1883. Records from the late 1920s to 1960s include original newsclippings. Many of the records are undated photographs, photocopies, or typed histories and biographies. The latest record dated 2005 is email correspondence.

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CA ON00279 F01-S137 · Series · 1853-2015, predominant 1976-2005

This series consists of contracts, deeds, plans, and newspaper clippings relating to Hellmuth College from 1866-1952. There is a general history and photographs of Hellmuth College. The series includes photographs of the Chapel and Motherhouse. The series contains a description of the layout of the Orphanage as well as information regarding the day-to-day routines. The series also contains notes on the process of purchasing the Mills property and written summaries of ecclesiastical events such as the Eucharistic Congress at Mount St. Joseph in July, 1923 and the visit of Cardinal Villeneuve in 1934. There are also special issues of the Western Gazette and magazine and newspaper articles, including a biography of Bishop Hellmuth, and the building of the new Motherhouse.

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Jubilees series
CA ON00279 F01-S132 · Series · 1932-2017

This series contains records related to the celebration of jubilees of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the diocese of London, in Ontario. The records are from Ontario and Alberta, where the Sisters had a mission since 1922. Materials in this series include photographs, videos, speeches, reflections, historical sketches, news clippings, hymns, programs, invitations, and cards.

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Sister Lists series
CA ON00279 F01-S141 · Series · 1911-2012

This series contains records that describe administrative data about the Sisters including their membership in the congregation as well as any occupational roles that they fulfilled in education and healthcare. These files include handwritten lists, typed lists, directory books that list all the Sisters within the congregation and their contact information, and a booklet of Sisters’ feast days and the Necrology for Fall 2011 that lists the most recent deaths within the congregation.

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Education, London, ON series
CA ON00279 F01-S113 · Series · 1858 [photocopied 19-?], 1909-2004

This series contains records concerning the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the London diocese with the field of education in London, Ontario. This includes the Sisters’ time as students, teachers, principals, and administrators. The educational institutes are Catholic elementary schools and high schools, choir schools, the London Roman Catholic Separate School Board, post-secondary schools, and the Divine Word (the International Centre of Religious Education operated by the London diocese). One of the post-secondary institutions, London Teachers College, was originally named London Normal School. The material in this series consists of correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, news clippings, newsletters, board minutes, histories, yearbooks, and manuals. The correspondence is primarily concerned with administrative matters, the employment of Sisters, and arranging events. Notable topics within these records include teaching practices, anniversary events, Canada’s centennial, and G. Campbell Trowsdale’s study “An Alternative Elementary School in the Performing Arts: The St. Mary’s Choir and Orchestra Program.”

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CA ON00279 F01-S114 · Series · 1933-2005

This series contains records concerning the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the London diocese in the field of education in St. Thomas, Ontario. While the records mention interactions with the Elgin County Roman Catholic Separate School Board and other schools in St. Thomas, the records in this series are all from or about St. Joseph’s High School. Material includes a feasibility study, yearbooks, news clippings, correspondence, photographs, pamphlets, and drama festival programs. The correspondence primarily concerns administration, funding, alumni events, and the Sisters who worked at the school. The major topics of the material are the Sisters’ employment, administrative concerns, the school’s drama department, and coordination of alumni events. There is also an annotated script for the play TUB by James W. Nichol, which the school performed in 1971.

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Education, Sarnia, ON series
CA ON00279 F01-S115 · Series · 1940-2005

This series concerns the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the London diocese in the field of education in Sarnia, Ontario, where the Sisters worked as teachers, principals, and administrators. The records are primarily concerned with St. Michael’s School, St. Patricia’s High School, and St. Patrick’s High School. Material in this series includes correspondence, photographs, news clippings, event programs, histories, yearbooks, alumni newsletters, and St. Patrick’s High School’s newsletters. The school newsletter, also referenced as the school paper, was called The Annunciata and later renamed The Shamrock. The St. Patrick’s High School’s yearbooks were also called The Shamrock. The correspondence is concerned with the Sisters’ employment, the Sarnia Roman Catholic Separate School Board’s involvement with the schools, the opening of St. Patricia’s Senior School, and the amalgamation of St. Patrick’s Senior High School and St. Patricia’s Junior High School. There are also meeting minutes of the Sarnia Roman Catholic Separate School Board and lists of teaching Sisters and the schools they taught at.

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CA ON00279 F01-S118 · Series · 1939-2008

This series concerns the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph from the London diocese in the field of education in Windsor, Ontario. There is material concerned with the religious orientation of the schools and the teaching qualifications and roles of religious staff. This includes records from the Special Commission of Inquiry in Regard to Brennan High School, Windsor, Ontario such as reports, correspondence, and meeting minutes. Other material in this series includes correspondence, photographs, histories, news clippings, booklets, event programs, yearbooks, and regulations from the Windsor Roman Catholic Separate School Board. The correspondence concerns the quality of religious education, teachers’ salaries, the history of Sisters’ involvement in education in Windsor, and reunion and anniversary events.

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CA ON00279 F01-S121 · Series · 1977

This series contains records concerning the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the London diocese in the field of education in Prince George, British Columbia. This consists of a yearbook from Prince George College where Sisters from various orders, including the Sisters of St. Joseph, worked as teachers, assistant principals, nurses, and librarians.

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CA ON00279 F01-S112 · Series · 1961 [photocopied 19-?]-2007

The records in this series concern the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London in the field of education in Edmonton, Alberta. The records are primarily concerned with O’Leary High School, St. Nicholas High School, and the history of the Sisters’ involvement with education in Edmonton, Alberta. The material includes O’Leary High School yearbooks, photographs of O’Leary High School, news clippings, pamphlets, histories, and correspondence. The correspondence is about the establishment of the Edmonton Catholic School District Archives and the history of the Sisters who worked in education in Edmonton, Alberta.

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CA ON00279 F01-S116 · Series · 1971

This series contains records concerning the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph from the London diocese with education in Maidstone, Ontario. This series consists of a 1971 yearbook from St. Mary’s Elementary School where the Sisters worked as teachers.

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Workshops and Events series
CA ON00279 F01-S140 · Series · September 1953- December 2006

The series consists of records concerning reunions, festivals, workshops, and anniversaries. These records comprise of address books, booklets, ceremony schedules, correspondences, event schedules, liturgy and prayer booklets and sheets, mailing lists, former Sisters membership lists, music sheets and hymns, newspaper clippings and photocopies, postcards with envelopes, photographs, and programs.

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Amalgamation Process series
CA ON00279 F01-S099 · Series · 1996-2013

This series contains records relevant to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the diocese of London’s amalgamation with the Hamilton, Pembroke, and Peterborough congregations to become the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada. The records are from before, during, and just after the amalgamation. While material concerns all four of the congregations and the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada, it was created by and primarily concerns the London Sisters.

The Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada was heavily involved in driving the amalgamation. In 1996 a video was shown to the London Sisters to bring awareness of the prospects of the religious communities and proposed uniting as one congregation. The London Sisters individually wrote reflections on this video. From 2007 to 2009 the Federation operated the Oneness Project which focused on interconnectedness and unity amongst the Sisters of St. Joseph and assessed four potential options of collaboration, one of which was amalgamation. This project resulted in newsletters, presentation slides, and the “Wisdom Gathering” report prepared by Sister Veronica O’Reilly. There is feedback from the London Sisters to the Oneness Project and the options presented at the 2009 Assembly.

Many of the records involved preparation for the amalgamation and the legal, organizational, and financial concerns related to the amalgamation. Other congregations of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States had undergone similar union of congregations. A booklet, timelines of their process, and minutes from meetings with these American Sisters were amassed by the Canadian Sisters in preparation for their own amalgamation.

Many committees and teams were formed and involved with preparing for and facilitating the transition, creating new goals and organizational structures for the amalgamated congregation, and communicating the process to the Sisters. Prayer pamphlets, minutes, and agendas from meetings as well as correspondence, newsletters, and reports from these teams and committees are present in this series. Those prominently featured are the Core and Local Futuring Teams, the Transitional Team, the Design Team, Chapter Planning Committee, Materials Resource Committee, Lay Advisory Committee, Website Committee, and the General Council. Select major topics include by-laws, insurance, finances, internal organizational structure, future planning, canonical and civil law requirements, and the creation of a website for the amalgamated congregation. There is also preparation for, and reports from, various Chapters and the Assembly where amalgamation and other options proposed by the Federation were discussed and voted on.

Another report included is “Evolving Design” which was created as part of the amalgamation process to outline the goals, governance, and process of the amalgamated congregation. There are several versions of this document from its creation process. It is based on the Sisters’ feedback on the congregation’s collective vocation and outlines the charism, the leadership structure, the role of the General Chapter, and contains a transitional constitution for the Sisters. It also outlines the duties of the Transitional Team.

There were many legal and financial issues which had to be addressed during the amalgamation. Forms, agreements, by-laws, acts, and correspondence with the Holy See, the Canadian government, solicitors, and Father Francis G. Morrisey about canonical and civil legal requirements for the amalgamation are present in this series. Some by-laws are internal and concern the operations and structures of the amalgamated congregation. Financial records, including budgets and arrangements for transfer of assets, for both the individual and amalgamated congregation are also included. There are also various iterations of guiding principles for the transition process and the amalgamated congregation.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of London had their final, binding vote on amalgamation at the Special Chapter in November of 2011 and there is an album of photographs documenting the event. The formal installation of leadership of the amalgamated congregation was held in 2013, and there is an invitation and brochure from the event. There are also correspondence and statements concerning press releases about the amalgamation.

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Chronicles series
CA ON00279 F01-S136 · Series · 1927-2005

This series contains chronicles documenting the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, Ontario from 1853 to 1979. The records are chronological accounts of daily life and major events at specific locations. Most include an index or chapter list. Several of the chronicles have photographs, correspondence, event programs, and news clippings pasted or tucked within. One chronicle, “Sacred Heart Convent Motherhouse 1950-1952 X9”, is made up almost entirely of news clippings. Some also have transcriptions of relevant correspondence included, such as letters about the founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph in North America. The chronicles are a mix of primary recollections and secondary summaries of history.

Several of the chronicles were compiled, written, and collected by Sister Genvieve Hennessey. Variations of these chronicles are included, some of which are annotated, and there are inconsistencies between the versions. Sister Genevieve’s the “Chronicles of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London,” recounts the Sisters’ history from 1868 to 1928, the “Diamond Jubilee Books,” recount the Sisters’ history from 1868 to 1928 and 1933, and there is an addendum added to some versions of each volume which provide accounts up to 1954. Among these histories, there are also accounts by Mother Margaret Coughlin, Sister Placidia Walsh, and Sister Callistus Arnsby which detail local activities and pilgrimages to Rome and France.

The chronicles frequently note religious events and internal activities of the community such as receptions and professions, jubilees, election of congregational leaders, ordinations, changes to habits, and visits of prominent religious figures. Other topics concern the Sisters’ missions and ministries, such as travel arrangements, properties, events for the orphans, and the Sisters’ involvement in healthcare and education. Deaths of Sisters, clergy, and prominent figures, such as King George VI are also frequently mentioned, sometimes with the obituaries included. Local disasters and events are also frequent topics, such as the 1881 Victoria Steamboat Disaster, the 1925 fire at Mount St. Joseph, the 1929 fire at the Ingersoll convent, the 1935 earthquake, the 1937 flood of the Thames River, the first provincial election at which the Sisters voted in 1937, and the smog from the 1950 Alberta wildfires. There are also mentions of global events, particularly those that impacted the Sisters’ and their missions.

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