From near and far, a significant number of people contributed to the birth of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). Women religious from the Congregation of Notre-Dame gave a solid spiritual formation to those who would later become the first four SNJM women religious.
The official call to found a teaching congregation of Canadian origin came from Bishop Ignace Bourget, who subsequently continuously encouraged and supported the Sisters. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) were valuable guides in the religious and pedagogical formation of the first Sisters. The Brothers of Christian Schools (FEC) educated two novices in the best teaching methods of the time. These two novices then passed on their knowledge to their companions who were very eager to develop their own teaching skills.
Throughout its expansion, the Congregation remained open to a diversity of workplaces: schools, parishes, dioceses, other areas of ministry, etc., in order to establish collaborative links and to change people’s lives and environments for the better.
Acting in Solidarity
On the occasion of the 2006 General Chapter, the participating Sisters launched a call to discover the strength of new relationships and to welcome the richness of a pluralistic world. This led us to seek, along with others, answers to the cries of our world: the AIDS epidemic, environmental problems, dialogue in the Church and with people from various religious and cultural traditions.
Today, the Quebec Leadership Team is aware that the future lies in the communion and solidarity we create among ourselves and with others. Many challenges have led to profound transformations. For the past several years, the province’s administrative management has been shared with lay people. Our educational institutions have become partner corporations. The expertise of specialists is called upon in civil matters.
In terms of work, lay people now assume a variety of daily tasks: health care, food or housekeeping services, communications, secretarial work, reception, maintenance, accounting, and so on.
In terms of mission, volunteers collaborate with SNJM’s on committees open to questions of justice, ecology, refugee assistance, etc.
In 2019, the vast majority of Quebec Sisters reside at Maison Jésus-Marie in Longueuil, which serves as a seniors’ residence and infirmary. The environment remains particularly lively thanks to the presence of children or adults who come for a concert (choir or orchestra), a poetry recital, a day of service, a conference, etc. In addition, volunteer work, both by women religious and laity, supports and reduces the workload of the SNJM animators.