Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

For Catholic Sisters Week, we Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto look back on our CSJ history and traditions and how we have changed and adapted to the world as new needs and challenges have arisen.

We will be sharing and exploring a different tradition for each day from March 8 - March 14.

Tuesday, March 14

“If we are to provide a way for people to find God, then I think we will have to be open to new ways.”

- Sister Margaret Myatt, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice


Being true to our mission, we have always responded to emerging societal needs with faith, compassion, patience, and understanding.

In the 20th century, this response to unmet needs led us to support many small missions in northern British Columbia, providing Catholic education where there was no government funding.


These principles have remained the driving force of our mission and continues today as we look at the world around us, as we hear God in the voices of the vulnerable, and we ask ourselves: what is God asking from us today?


We invite you to celebrate our tradition of simplicity and compassion by donating empty egg cartons and plastic tags (from bread & milk bags) to Fontbonne Ministries.

These supplies are very useful for providing eggs and bread to people in need. This is a way to “reuse”, care for creation and help others at the same time.

Fontbonne Ministries
791 Queen Street East, Toronto
Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Monday, March 13

“I have great hope for the future. If we remain faithful to what we decide together to do, then we will live that out and it will be beautiful.”

- Sister Patricia Macaulay, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice


Our founder, Father Jean-Pierre Médaille, SJ urged the Sisters to embrace the people around them as the ‘dear neighbour’ deserving of compassion and love without distinction.

This tradition has evolved to recognizing that serving the ‘dear neighbour’ requires seeing all of humanity and planet Earth as the ‘dear neighbour’.


Today, our CSJ Ministry for Social Justice, Peace, and Creation Care is devoted to acting and advocating for a better world with its focus on Indigenous justice, climate justice, and migrant worker rights.

Sunday, March 12

“If we are to provide a way for people to find God, then I think we will have to be open to new ways.”

- Sister Rosella Dowling, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice


The six women whom Father Jean-Pierre Médaille, SJ formed into the first community were simple women. By following the Spirit in the desires of their hearts to serve others; they began the establishment of a new form of religious life in the Church.


Today, our Vocations ministry shares our CSJ mission and values offering spirituality, faith and accompaniment to help those discerning their vocational path.

Saturday, March 11

“I believe that is where our future lies: in challenging by our example the established and oppressive interests of our society, by ourselves becoming the compassion of God where it is most needed.”

- Sister Joanne Daley, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice


In the 17th century, one of our works was to care for orphaned girls, preparing them for adulthood by teaching a trade, historically lace and ribbon making.

In Toronto, we continued our education of girls by opening three high schools: St. Joseph's College School, St. Joseph's High School (Islington), St. Joseph's Morrow Park High School.


Today, our CSJ Ministry for Social Justice, Peace, and Creation Care educates everyone about our history, knowledge and learnings of systemic inequalities and abuses towards each other and our planet, and how we might affect change and build a better world.

Friday, March 10

“Our vocation is to the neighbourhood of the world.”

- Sister Bernadette Robinson, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice


Very soon after our founding in Le Puy, France, we travelled to nearby villages where people needed us.

In 1851, we cared for the influx of Irish immigrants to Toronto who were sick and poor due to difficult voyages and epidemics.


Today in this time of world migration, we have sponsored refugees for permanent residency in Canada and developed support services such as Becoming Neighbours.

We continue to support migrants and refugees through advocacy and ongoing assistance. This includes our Collaborative Network to End Exploitation and its Migrant Workers Exercise.

Thursday, March 9

"In community there is opportunity for growth, for accountability, for support, for sharing our gifts with others.”

- Sister Thérèse Meunier, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice


Our first Sisters divided the small city of Le Puy into four quadrants and went out to help the people in each of the neighbourhoods to meet their needs. At night, while making lace to support themselves, they shared their experiences and made plans for how to help the people.


Today as we work with others to innovate and address new needs, we Sisters continue our tradition of our weekly ‘sharing of the heart’ around our lives and ministries.

Wednesday, March 8

“I came to community to be of service, particularly to the poor, and that is what I was led to.”

- Sister Patricia Connaughton, published in Wisdom Raises Her Voice

In 17th century France, our first work was in a hospice or shelter for those in need particularly orphans and the elderly.


When we were invited to Toronto in 1851 to take over an orphanage, we soon began responding to the many needs in the area. We were asked to care for people with infectious diseases and this led to the opening of the House of Providence, St. Michael’s Hospital and the expansion over the years of healthcare institutions across the city.


Today, we continue to respond to unmet needs by offering support to organizations serving the health and palliative care needs of those living on the street.

Out of deep respect for those who have cared for these lands since time immemorial, we are committed to tread lightly on the land, protect water as sacred, and affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples. - From our CSJ Land Acknowledgement

Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto © 2023