The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto (CSJ) were founded around 1650 in Le Puy-en-Velay, France, by six women and a Jesuit priest, Jean-Pierre Médaille. All the works of mercy were to be done on behalf of the dear neighbour.
From the beginning, our religious life included service to and with people who were sick, poor and vulnerable.
Following the end of the French Revolution in 1807, Mother St. John Fontbonne responded to the call to establish a new religious community in the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph. By addressing the great social needs of the day, our congregation flourished from its central administration in Lyon. In 1836, six Sisters travelled from France to St. Louis, Missouri to teach poor and deaf children.
On October 7, 1851, these four Sisters arrived in Toronto to care for orphans, the sick and poor of the city. From this beginning, we went on to establish ministries in education, social services, and health care. Over the years, we have continued to set up facilities to meet newly recognized needs.
Today, our ministries have evolved from larger institutions to forms of ministry that relate more closely to the “dear neighbour.”
Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto celebrate their 170th anniversary as the first Canadian foundation of Sisters of St. Joseph.
CSJ Project Hope
Collaborative Network to End Exploitation
2 O’Connor Drive Residence, Toronto
Social Justice Ministry
Ministry for Social Justice, Peace, and Creation Care is supported with an office which identifies key concerns and seeks opportunities for collaboration in a faith-based way that includes education, advocacy, prayer and action.
The Sisters of St. Joseph in Ministry, 2010
The Sisters of St. Joseph came to Toronto in 1851, to help those in need: people who were sick, poor, at-risk and vulnerable. Their ministries are carried out today, in rich and varied ways. This video is a sampling and a celebration of just some of their accomplishments and their spirit, as Sisters continue their good works into the 21st century and beyond.
© 2010 Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto
Joint Apostolic Ministry
Pope John Paul II Visit to Toronto
The Furniture Bank, Toronto
Women's Drop In
Herron Place Refugee Centre
St. Joseph's Centre, Morrow Park
Daily Bread Food Bank
CSJ Associates Program
St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto
Via Veritas Vita
Matt Talbot House
St. Michael's Homes
Missions Near and Far
St. Joseph's Catholic High School, Oshawa, Ontario
St. Joseph's College School
St. Joseph's Morrow Park High School
St. Joseph's High School, Islington, Ontario
Our Lady of Mercy Hospital
St. Joseph's Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba
St. Joseph's Hospital
St. Joseph's General Hospital, Comox
Western Teaching Missions
St. Joseph's College, Toronto
St. Michael's Hospital
St. Joseph’s Motherhouse, 89 Wellesley Street West, Toronto
House of Providence
First Motherhouse and St. Joseph’s Academy, Toronto
Six months after their arrival to Toronto, Mother Martha von Bunning and two novices, established St. Mary’s Convent and Orphanage in Hamilton, their first mission outside of the city. Other Sisters of St. Joseph Congregations were founded from Toronto missions, first in Hamilton (1852), London (1868) and then Port Arthur (1881). Learn More
Arrival in Toronto
On October 7, 1851, Mother Delphine Fontbonne and three other Sisters arrived in Toronto. They took charge of an already established orphanage on Nelson Street (Lower Jarvis) and cared for the orphans, the sick, the poor and vulnerable. Learn More
Bishop de Charbonnel
While visiting Philadelphia in 1851, Toronto Catholic Bishop Armand de Charbonnel learned of the good works carried out by the Sisters of St. Joseph and Mother Delphine's role as superior of the orphanage while visiting Philadelphia in 1851. With connections to Lyon and the Fonbonne family, de Charbonnel asked that Mother Delphine be transferred to Toronto and establish a mission in Canada. The Superiors in St. Louis agreed to this request. Learn More
Toronto's Famine Irish
Arrival in North America
Tradition gives October 15, 1650, as the date on which Bishop de Maupas gave the congregation its official existence and the name of St. Joseph. During the next 150 years, the congregation grew and spread throughout the neighbouring dioceses.