Faced with the lack of schools for the general population of her time, Eulalie Durocher had a dream that all young girls in all parishes would be able to receive a truly Christian education in a convent school.
Msgr. Bourget made it possible for Eulalie to realize that dream. In 1843, after the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Marseille, France, refused to come to Canada, Eulalie and two companions (Mélodie Dufresne and Henriette Céré) founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Longueuil. This Congregation was civilly incorporated as early as 1845.
At the time of the death of Mother Marie-Rose, only six years after its foundation, the Congregation had 30 Sisters teaching 384 students in four houses, all of which were in Quebec, Canada.
In 1859, twelve of the then seventy-two Sisters were sent to Oregon (on the west coast of the United States) to work among the French Canadians there. Soon after, missions were established in Ontario (1864), New York (1865), California (1868), and Manitoba (1874).
Later the Congregation expanded its missions beyond North America: in Lesotho, Africa (1931), Japan (1931-1940), Brazil and Peru (1962), Cameroon (1970-1972) and Haiti (1975).
Since the foundation, our sisters have worked or currently work on 5 continents:
- North America, Central America, South America
- Africa: Lesotho (Basutoland), Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, South Africa
- Asia: Japan, Thailand and Vietnam
- Europe: Lithuania and Ukraine
- Oceania: Micronesia