Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A congregation founded in the parish of St. Damien, Bellechasse, P.Q., Canada, 28 August, 1892, by Abbé J.O. Brousseau. The institute devotes itself to the following works: the instruction of children, particularly in country and city parochial schools ; the education of orphans and the maintenance of agricultural orphanages in which, together with religious instruction and a good education, children may be given a taste for farming; the care of the aged and infirm of both sexes.

Abbé J.O. Brousseau laboured earnestly to secure funds for the new foundation and to overcome the obstacles to its progress. The pastors of a number of parishes in the Diocese of Quebec authorized him to seek pecuniary aid, on condition that he would admit some of their aged poor and orphans to his institutions. Among those who coöperated with him was Mlle Virginie Fournier, born at St. Joseph de Lévis but a resident of Fall River, Massachusetts, a woman of experience and courage. She became the first superior of the little community which as Mère St. Bernard she governed for six years, with great success. From the first year of the community's existence, the sisters have conducted the principal schools of the parish of St. Damien. The demand for these religious educators increased and, in 1907, having no more disengaged subjects, they were obliged to refuse the direction of seventeen municipal schools. The first profession occurred on 27 March, 1897, when fifteen sisters pronounced the three vows of religion for a year, renewing them annually until the taking of their perpetual vows on 10 July, 1908. The congregation recruits its members from all classes of society, poverty being no obstacle. None are received save those of upright intention, sound judgment, a well-disposed will, and sufficiently robust health. To accept subjects under fifteen years of age and over thirty, widows or persons having already taken either temporary or perpetual vows in another religious community, it is necessary to have the permission of the Holy See. The dower is fixed at a hundred dollars; in default of this the aspirant must promise to give instead what will later revert to her by right of inheritance, bequest, or in any other legitimate way. The period of postulantship lasts six months, that of noviceship eighteen months, and after six years, permanent vows are taken.

The institute has so far confined its activities to the Diocese of Quebec. In 1907-08, the constitutions were recast and made conformable to the observations in the "Guide canonique" by Mgr Battandier, the superior-general and her councilors being directed in this work by the Rev. Charles Gonthier, S.J., of Montreal. At present the congregation conducts 21 schools in the Province of Quebec, with 2532 pupils, 1 hospital with 44 inmates, and 35 sisters, and has charge of 50 orphans. The order numbers (1911) 112 professed sisters, 8 novices, and 12 postulants.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains my hands for war and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go away,' they said. 'Leave ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 27th, 2016 Image

St. Frumentius
October 27: Called "Abuna" or "the fa¬≠ther' of Ethiopia, ... Read More