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On February 7, we celebrate the life of our foundress, Mother Delphine Fontbonne (1813 - 1856), who came to Toronto in 1851 with three Sisters, beginning our Toronto legacy of love, care, service, and spirituality to people in need.

In a reflection, Sister Mary Mettler asks: What would Mother Delphine Fontbonne’s message to us be today?


what is her message


Our archives contain letters Delphine wrote about the difficulties and challenges she and her young companions faced – a new language and culture, great poverty, dependence on the Bishop for everything it seemed, and the young women wanting to join who had no religious formation; the needs were so great. I can imagine her prayer often being:

“Here I am Lord” – remind me again that it was you who sent me.

What would Mother Delphine’s message to us be today?

I believe that she would want us to honour our own gifts, our own fears, struggles and accomplishments– and there have been many.

I believe that she would also tell us that our mission is community; that there is nothing more important, more radical, more necessary in today’s world than to nurture and foster community wherever we find it, wherever we are, with whatever means we have – whether it is prayer, solidarity, presence or our blessing.

We have come this far together and together we will journey on to the More that ever calls us into the future. May we always respond with the openness, zeal and freedom of our first Sisters as we say, “Here I am, send me”.

Sister Mary Mettler, CSJ

Learn more about Mother Delphine Fontbonne
More CSJ reflections

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

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