Celebrating our Oneness with
God, Creation & Neighbour.
170 Years of Service
The seven essays in this volume trace the roots of the Sisters of St. Joseph from their biblical and medieval foremothers, through the Congregation’s activities in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. One can also trace throughout these essays the metaphor of weaving lace, an activity that was the economic heart that fueled the charitable works of the first Sisters of St. Joseph in seventeenth-century Le Puy, France.
Exploring Our Heritage & History at St. Michael's Cemetery
As part of our 170th celebrations, we hoped to organize a walking tour of St. Michael's Cemetery. The cemetery is a historical site that connects us to the first Sisters and the Congregation’s early history in Toronto.
Due to the COVID restrictions, this idea pivoted into a short video presentation in which Sisters Penny McDonald and Kristine Fernandes, along with Sabrina Chiefari, offer a unique insight into our CSJ history.
Historical Map: Plan of the City of Toronto, Canada West 1857, J. Ellis, Lithographer and Fleming, Rideout and Schreiber, Publishers, Series 88, Item 13, City of Toronto Archives
Our Eucharistic Celebration
On Sunday, October 10, 2021, the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto commemorated the 170th anniversary of our arrival in Toronto with a special Mass at St. Paul's Basilica.
At the Mass, Sister Georgette Gregory, Congregational Leader, welcomed everybody with a celebratory address:
Good afternoon! Welcome to our Eucharistic Celebration.
Those of you seated before me: thank you for being here. Those of you joining us online: thank you for being a part of this special day. Today is an event that we Sisters have been planning for two years to celebrate our 170th anniversary.
I think we can all agree: the last 18 months of our lives were not what we'd expected or hoped for. But I think we can also agree: the last 18 months have given us tremendous perspective.
As Sisters of St. Joseph, we see the world through our charism. This is true for all Sisters. This includes the first six Sisters in France, the first four Sisters who came to Toronto in 1851, and all the Sisters today. Our charism is our specific set of mission and values. It is our promise to look for unmet needs in this world and do what we can to serve them.
During the last 18 months, we have all become more aware of the needs around us. I often wonder what Mother Delphine thought when she stepped off the boat in Toronto Harbour. The needs of the day were so great. Where did they begin? We know that with compassion and simplicity, the Sisters rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Today, we are celebrating our Oneness with God, Creation and Neighbour. We pray with gratitude for all that we have accomplished, and we look towards with the future with hope that together with others and many of you here today, we can continue to meet the needs around us.
Needs such as: greater compassion towards those who are underhoused and those individuals suffering from systemic inequalities, gratitude for our beautiful planet which we should protect, clean drinking water as a shared resource and a human right, increased empathy for the suffering of others and the desire to protect “the dear neighbour”.
There is a need for Truth and Reconciliation as we reach out to the original inhabitants of this land, hear their stories, respect them, and walk with them.
And there is a need for faith. We must have faith that God will provide us with the wisdom and creativity we need and willingness to roll up our sleeves and keep doing what God has called us to do for 170 years.
As Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, we have faith that God will show us the path forward. We are certain that we God will continue to speak to us through people in need and that we will hear Him.
Message from the Congregational Leader
Our congregation began celebrating 170 years of ministry in Toronto on October 7, 2020.
In our long and storied history, facing the COVID-19 pandemic is one of many challenges that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto have met. From our very first steps onto the shores of the Toronto harbour in 1851 — where Sisters tended to the needs of the sick, homeless and hungry — to today, where we care for our wounded Earth and provide vital services to people of all ages and backgrounds, we identify the needs of the day and work towards solutions.
We have so much to celebrate and so much to be grateful for — including you, our dear neighbour.
Please continue to visit this page for more information on anniversary celebrations; it will be updated in the coming weeks and months.
Sister Georgette Gregory, CSJ
Welcome to Creation Novena
As we Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto celebrate our 170th Anniversary of ministry and presence in the Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada, and beyond, we are offering a Novena of Creation.
Beginning March 10, we will share nine consecutive days with daily reflections on the call to honour and care for creation. Day 1 will begin on March 11 and this series will conclude on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph.
Charism Alive! CSJ Mission and Values
Our presenter, Beth Johnson, joins us with a wealth of experience and insight into the Congregation’s charism and mission as the past Executive Director of Mission Integration, Volunteer and Visitor Services for Unity Health (Providence Healthcare, St. Michael’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre). We welcome Beth Johnson, President & CEO of the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario (CHSO) as she speaks to us on CSJ mission and values.