Title and statement of responsibility area
Sister Margaret Ferris sous-fonds
General material designation
- Multiple media
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Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title is based on the creator of the sous-fonds.
Level of description
CA ON00279 F01-SF10
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Ferris, Sister Margaret
Physical description area
25 cm of textual records
1 photograph : b&w
146 photographs : col.
18 photographs :negatives, col. ; 15 x 6 cm and 15 x 3.5 cm
10 prints : col.
2 sketches : pencil
7 bound volumes
1 rosary in pouch : 6 x 7 cm
2 pamphlets : col. ; 10 x 21 cm
1 painting : watercolour ; 32 x 44 cm
1 painting : watercolour ; 21 x 25 cm
1 painting : watercolour ; 22 x 28 cm
1 book cover ; 43 x 29 cm
1 graduation cap
1 graduation gown and hood
2 wall hangings; 36.2 cm x 69.3 cm
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Born Mary Margaret Ferris in London in 1931, Sister Margaret Ferris was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who has spent much of her life furthering her education and ministry. In particular, she has been 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 graduated in the first class to ever graduate from Catholic Central High School in 1951. At age twenty-two, 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 B.A. 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. This was another fulfilling experience for Sister Margaret Ferris as she was able to influence the development of the Church and to give empowerment/influence to 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.
Scope and content
This sous-fonds contains records pertaining to Sister Margaret Ferris’ education and professional career, including a published book, research papers, research notes, report cards and transcripts, diplomas and degrees, resumes, and correspondence. The sous-fonds also includes photographs and diaries regarding her various travels and personal life, a papal blessing, and Jubilee celebration memorabilia. There is also original artwork, including wall hangings, paintings, and framed art. The sous-fonds also includes graduation regalia.
Immediate source of acquisition
The records were donated by Sr. Mary Diesbourg to the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada - London site archives.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
The records are located at the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada - London site archives.
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
These records are restricted to public access until 30 years after the death of Sister Margaret Ferris.
The Archives reserves the right to restrict access to the collection depending on the condition of the archival material, the amount of material requested, and the purpose of the research. The use of certain materials may also be restricted for reasons of privacy or sensitivity, or under a donor agreement. Access restrictions will be applied equally to all researchers and reviewed periodically. No researcher will be given access to any materials that contain a personal information bank such as donor agreements or personnel records, or to other proprietary information such as appraisals, insurance valuations, or condition reports.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Permission to study archival records does not extend to publication or display rights. The researcher must request this permission in writing from the Archives.
Series and file list available.
Generated finding aid
Further accruals are expected.
Standard number area
Name access points
- Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada -- London (Subject)
- Ferris, Sister Margaret (Subject)
Description record identifier
Rules or conventions
Level of detail
Dates of creation, revision and deletion
November 16, 2018
July 2, 2020