About Us ... Our heritage page.

On August 2nd, 1826, Pope Leo XII gave the name 'Faithful Companions of Jesus' to our Society Marie Madeleine d'Houet, foundress of the Faithful Companions of Jesus.at the request of our foundress, Marie Madeleine, who said:

'To have this name, Faithful Companions of Jesus
I would give everything, all that I am ...'

Pope Leo XII also began the review of our Constitutions,
which Marie Madeleine said were dearer to her than life itself.
On August 2nd, 1985, the Holy See approved them, and the Ignatian principles they contain:

  • apostolic companionship in discernment for mission
  • service for the greater glory of God - the 'magis'
  • unity and diversity
  • excelling in the obedience which sends us on our mission
  • formation to interior freedom and maturity of spirit.

First FCJs travel to Canada by boat, train, covered wagon, crossing rivers.

We include here a brief account of the story of the FCJ journey to and within the Americas, as well as a timeline of the major events in this history. For information about the early history of our Society and our development in other parts of the world, use the links in the navigation bar under About Us.

If you would like to read more of our early FCJ history in the Americas,
please contact our Province Archivist at the address below or by email.

FCJ Archivist
Sacred Heart Convent FCJ
219 - 19 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada   T2S 0C8

     or     

You can access the information on our website by clicking on the appropriate place on the map
or you may go directly to FCJ History or Timeline

Map of the Americas. Igloolik, Nunavut, CANADA
New Hazelton, British Columbia
Moricetown, BC
Smithers, BC
Kitimat, BC
Edmonton, Alberta
Calgary, AB
Lethbridge, AB
Oyen, AB
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Duck Lake, SK
St. Laurent, SK
Brandon, Manitoba
Rat Portage, Ontario
Combermere, ON
Toronto, ON
Windsor, ON
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA
Fitchburg, Massachussetts
Fall River, MA
Providence, Rhode Island
Portsmouth, RI
New York City, NY
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Durham, North Carolina
Kingstree, South Carolina
Oakland, California

Mexico City, MEXICO
Tarija, BOLIVIA
Cordoba, ARGENTINA
Clodomira and
La Banda, ARGENTINA
Salta, ARGENTINA

Fond du Lac. Fredericton. Windsor. Toronto. Combermere. Rat Portage. St. Laurent. Brandon. Duck Lake. Oyen. Prince Albert. Lethbridge. Edmonton. Calgary. Smithers. Moricetown. Kitimat. New Hazelton Igloolik

(Page numbers throughout this section refer to Journeying through a Century,
Sister Pioneers 1883 - 1983, edited by Shirley Majeau, fcJ.)

Canada

Sketch of lighthouse.This anthology opens with the story of Reverend Mother Josephine Petit, Superior General, responding to an invitation from Bishop Vital Grandin, OMI, to send sisters to his diocese of Prince Albert in northwestern Canada. M. Josephine's response was "Monseigneur, you are asking for sisters for your schools, and your diocese is in urgent need. The journey will be long, difficult, costly, even dangerous, and on our arrival we will find lodging which is very poor. Your poverty does not permit you to pay our travelling expenses. You ask us for . . .sacrifices. Well, we will do it for God." (p13)

Sketch of FCJs on the boat.Eight sisters left Liverpool, England, on May 10, 1883. They journeyed by boat across the Atlantic for eleven days. After a day in Quebec, they travelled to Montreal on the train and it is there, at the Grey Nuns' Motherhouse, that the FCJs met Bishop Grandin.

Sketch in the train.Some days were spent visiting different convents and schools before the pioneer FCJs, Bishop Grandin, and some Oblate students and novices took the train to Winnipeg.

In passing from Sarnia to Port Huron the train was divided into three large sections and placed on a large flat boat which steamed slowly across in about half an hour." (p 34)

Sketch of covered wagon.On June 11 the missionaries got off the train at Qu'Appelle. The remainder of their voyage was to be in covered wagons.

"Monseigneur told us how much he suffered while saying Mass sometimes, from the bites of the mosquitoes which often caused the blood to run down his face. We did our best this morning to screen him, for they came in swarms. We covered the opening of his tent with our thin canvas and knelt outside, this protected the good bishop and he found it a great relief. It was difficult for us to hear Mass in peace - not for an instant were we still. We were Sketch of stagecoach crossing the river.beating off these little creatures every moment. Our gloves and veils were, to some degree, a protection, but the mosquitoes stung through our shawls and stockings. The bishop says they will even pierce the leather of the moccasins. We were trying to find a good specimen for our beloved Reverend Mother General to look at and certainly we shall have no difficulty." (p 64)

"En route Bishop Grandin told the sisters, "In reading the life of your Foundress I see that the spirit of poverty and humility has presided over all your foundations. Another thing that pleases me is that your Society was founded at the same time as ours, and approved of by the same Pope. And then your Mother had such zeal for the salvation of souls. I think that you are destined for the Missions, and I admire more and more the designs of Providence in choosing you for my diocese. You must expect the poverty and humiliation of a small beginning, but God will be with you, you are His faithful Companions... What an amount of good you have to do!'' (p 36)

"The little community of Prince Albert, four in number, reached its destination on the evening of the 30th June, thus beginning the work of our Society on the eve of the beautiful month dedicated to the Precious Blood." (p 75)

Sketch of convent."On our first arrival we had been disappointed on finding that our Sisters in St. Laurent were to be separated from us by a distance of about 40 miles, as we thought we would have been able to see each other occasionally. It is true that in this country that is considered nothing, but we have no means of conveyance and it would be a great expense to hire a vehicle.

However we have been in constant communication with them, caravans set out nearly every week from St. Lawrence and Prince Albert to Winnipeg. By this means we can write to our dear mothers, as well as by the post, which, from the first day of our arrival, has been established regularly every week. At present, there is no communication by the railway; we are deprived of a great many temporal advantages, and we have also to wait two long months before receiving an answer to our letters from our beloved Reverend Mother. The telegraph is going to be erected and there is hope that the railway will be commenced next year." (pp 82,83 )

"On the 6th January (1884), an Indian baby was brought for baptism; its godparents asked us to give it a name. We called the little girl Philomena and she is probably the first in these parts who bears the name of the saint we love so much.

Sketch of campsite and lighting a fire."Our dear pupils returned on the 7th evidently determined to make good use of their time at school. One new boarder and several day scholars were added to our number." (p 106)

Despite all the efforts of the Sisters and of Bishop Grandin to teach the children their catechism, after several months the majority of the children scarcely knew what was strictly necessary to receive their first communion.

"But their hearts were very pure and they longed so much for our Lord's visit. For many weeks before this happy day, although they are not very proficient in arithmetic, they counted the days and hours which separated them from this blessed moment ... The first communion day was therefore a beautiful and lovely feast, the Fathers who were present said they had never before seen Sketch of rainy conditions.children so well prepared, nor had they ever had so much consolation in all their missionary life." (pp 119,120)

"In Spring when the snow should render the crossing of the river impossible to those who lived on the other side, a little girl, 10 years of age, fearing to lose her catechism lesson, and not to make her First Communion, begged of her parents to sell her little cow (to which she was greatly attached) in order that she might attend our school. Among our boarders we have a little orphan, a little girl of three years of age, who is of French, English, Cree, Saulteux and Assiniboine descent. This dear child charms everybody by her simple piety.'" (p 123)

Meanwhile, In the 1884 annals of St. Laurent we read: "On Low Sunday (April), twenty children approached the Holy Table for the first time."

The year 1885 was the time of the Northwest Rebellion. The Annals of Prince Albert read "We shall long remember the feast of St. Joseph 1885 for it was on that day that the standard of rebellion was raised and a few days later the town was threatened with an attack from the rebels. Who could tell our fears and anxiety for ourselves and our sisters of St. Laurent during the two months in which we lived in constant dread of attack. "But God watched over us in a special manner and we were preserved from the many and imminent perils of which we were surrounded. At last, the 14th of May, we had the consolation of knowing that our dear sisters of St. Laurent were safe and well." (p 125)

A little of the anxiety can be felt by reading the annals of St. Laurent: ". . .we learned that the father of one of our children had been arrested and condemned to death because he refused to take part in the rebellion. The large store in Duck Lake had been pillaged and then burned. Other items of bad news followed in succession, and all we could do was to share the sadness of our children and the dark presentiments of Father Fourmond. The Rosary was said and the Stations of the Cross were made from morning till night in our little Chapel, our children replacing each other continually. ‘Pray, my children, I beseech you,' Father would say to them. ‘Ask God that no blood be shed and that all those men disperse quietly.'" (p 163)

Sketch of departure.On July 11, 1885, the FCJ sisters left St. Laurent to establish a school in Calgary, Alberta. Two days before their departure Bishop Grandin visited them and said, "Poor Mothers, how you have suffered! What troubles you have had! How very worried your Reverend Mother must have been! And I, who was powerless to write her anything of reassuring nature regarding your fate." (p 204)

Sketch of Brandon.Another group of missionary FCJs was sent from Liverpool on September 13, 1883 to Brandon, Manitoba. They spent a few days at St. Boniface. A Fr. MacCarthy greeted them on behalf of Archbishop Tache. "He gave us a curriculum for the classes we would be starting, and even procured the necessary books with which to start. He assures us at Brandon we had complete freedom in Catholic teaching because a law had been passed by which His Grace has full and complete authority over Catholic studies. He is the absolute master and protector, the Protestants have nothing to do with it. Furthermore, here, like everywhere else in Canada, all social classes (rank) are mixed in education, thus the daughter of the poorest labourer would be seated, without distinction, next to the daughter of the richest middle class person. All receive the same instruction. In this regard, there is no reason to criticize." (p 239)

"At last, Monday, 8 October (1883) at a quarter to nine, the bell called the children and at 9 classes began. Only fifteen children, boys and girls, Catholic and Protestants, had arrived on time.... "We taught them catechism, bible stories, reading, writing, grammar, geography, arithmetic, French and singing, and we noticed day by day that everything was new to them. "Since October the number of day pupils has risen to more than 50. We have been notified of several boarders but the cold weather has kept them at home until spring." (p 244)

The school in Brandon prospered for some time, but by 1887 a change began. "In 1893 the number of boarders had run to twenty-four and the school was progressing satisfactorily. In this year, however, discrimination against Catholics became more pronounced. It was difficult for Catholics to obtain any kind of position or even a job in the bigoted city. In that year too, the convent, which had been tax exempt as Religious houses were elsewhere in Manitoba, was required to pay taxes on the property. Manitoba school laws became more severe and more difficult to cope with." (p 263) As a result the sisters moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and eventually, a year later to Fitchburg, Massachussetts.

Sketch of river.Bishop Grandin wrote again to M. Josephine Petit, Superior General, to ask for sisters for Edmonton, Alberta. He pointed out that Edmonton and Prince Albert are joined by the same river and therefore that the sisters could communicate with each other rather easily!

"On August 9, 1888, a party of twelve ( nine Mothers and three Sisters) left Liverpool for Canada. After ten days travel they arrived safely in Quebec. The Grey Sisters, as with all former parties, were exceptionally hospitable towards them. The FCJ party boarded the train on August 20 headed for Brandon, and from Brandon four of the travelling companions left for Prince Albert, two remained at Brandon, and six travelled on to Calgary to arrive there much fatigued on August 25.

After a few weeks with their sisters in Calgary, on October 1st, 1888, at 9 o'clock in the morning, five FCJs left Calgary with the good-byes and God-speeds of their Sisters ringing in their ears. They were followed by a long line of Red River wagons bearing their luggage; the household goods for their new home; the vestments, vessels, and ornaments to be used at Holy Mass by their leader, Reverend H. Grandin, omi. (Nephew to Msgr. GMaking a meal at a campsite.randin); and last, but by no means least, food for the journey, and a couple of crates of hens and a rooster. The ride over the prairie would take ten "days during which time they were alone on these vast stretches of uninhabited country, with scarcely a house between Calgary and their destination." (pp 255, 256)

Next, on December 22, 1888, Bishop Grandin wrote to M. Josephine: "I am obliged to tell you, Reverend Mother - I am afraid of scaring you off by my rashness - but all I can do is ask you. "Your daughters have scarcely settled in Edmonton when I dare to make another request of you for another new town of my diocese. It is Lethbridge...." (p 259)

Lethbridge convent."Five Sisters from Prince Albert, Edmonton and Calgary met at a small coal trading post called Dunmore, east of Medicine Hat. As early as 1885, Dunmore had a narrow-gauge railway! (No C.P.or C.N. train ran into the Fort Lethbridge at this time.) Sometimes, at night, a fairly comfortable passenger-coach was attached to the coal trucks but since our nuns were advised by Fr. Van Tighem to travel by day, they used the guard's van at the end of the twenty or so coal cars for this their first, smutty, bumpy ride of 100 miles to their new mission. "Arriving earlier than was expected, the Sisters made their way to the Church where Our Divine Lord was the first to welcome them. ‘The good nuns', writes Fr. Van Tighem, ‘made themselves at home in the school room.' ‘There were no beds and no bedsteads, the Sisters state in the Annals, ‘so we put two desks together for a cozy bed and we gathered from our bundles all the clothing we could spare for covering.'" (p 260)

Meanwhile, Archbishop Tache was anxious to have FCJ sisters in Rat Portage, Ontario (now Kenora), a small town at one end of Lake of the Woods. Four FCJs moved to Rat Portage in August 1892. "Classes began in September with an enrolment of seventy children but before Christmas their number had tripled and there was much difficulty in fitting them all into the limited space. Inspectors came and were satisfied with the work done. The pupils, our Mothers found, worked hard in their classes and equally hard at their play... .  Yet, after ten years, the Society left Rat Portage and the community was dispersed to other FCJ Canadian or American convents." (p 265)

From January 1895 to July 1903, FCJs worked with Father Paquette, OMI, in the Native School at Duck Lake, Saskatchewan.

Old map of Ontario.Not until 1948 did the Society, Faithful Companions of Jesus, establish another convent in central Canada. Seven sisters arrived in Combermere, Ontario in mid-August, 1948. "Around 1965 the enrolment reached a peak of about two hundred boarding and day students. Some non-Catholics were accepted and this was instrumental in breaking down prejudice in the area." (p 270) Combermere closed in 1974.

"In 1950 the bishops of Toronto, Ontario invited the Faithful Companions of Jesus to teach in their diocese. The sisters were also looking for a foundation in a Catholic university town where their young sisters could be educated. So, in 1951, the first FCJ house was opened in Toronto." (p272) The Sisters have lived in several houses in Toronto where they ministered in elementary schools in the Weston area and in Madonna High School and St. Mary's High School. Since 1990, a ministry to refugees has developed into the now flourishing FCJ Refugee Centre (click here for website).

From 1966 to 1968 the FCJs had a boarding school in Midnapore, Alberta, attended by girls who had been boarders in Calgary and Edmonton, as well as by many others. Even while effort was being put into developing the new school's 'spirt', the FCJ Sisters were already asking: ‘Is the boarding school situation right for Albertan girls today? Is this the situation where the Sisters can best and most effectively put forth their efforts?'

"When the decision to close Mary Mount as of June 1968 was made, it was the end of a long and rich tradition of FCJ boarding schools in Alberta, dating back to 1885. The adaptations required for a new era of change and renewal had begun." (p 276) In 1980, the Boarding School at Sacred Heart Convent in Calgary was completely remodelled to create suitable space for the FCJ Christian Life Centre (click here for website).

From 1973 to 1982, FCJ Sisters ministered in the Parish School in Oyen, very near to the Alberta - Saskatchewan border.

In 1986, in response to a call from the Canadian Bishops for priests and religious to do what they could to answer some of the needs in the northern mission dioceses of Canada, FCJs were sent to New Hazelton in Prince George Diocese. The Sisters ministered in the New Hazelton Catholic school until it closed and in the Parishes of New Hazelton and Moricetown. In 1991, the apostolate in Prince George Diocese was extended to Kitimat, where FCJs have been involved in school and parish. In 1997, when we withdrew from New Hazelton, Sr. Theresa Smith moved to the Moricetown Reserve where she ministered , living on the Reserve, until a community was formed in Smithers in 2003.

Pictures and symbols of Moricetown.

Sr. Donna Marie Perry, a Canadian FCJ, ministered in a residential therapy centre in Bangalore, India from December 1988 until June 1996.

From 1989 to until June 2000, Sr. Marilyn Matz ministered in Churchill-Hudson Bay Diocese with the Inuit People of the Eastern Arctic, now called Nunavut. For most of this time, she lived in Igloolik.

Sr. Jane Galvin worked as a Campus Minister, first in Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario from 1994 to 1995; then at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, Nova Scotia from 1996 to 2001.

USA

As a result of difficulties in the early mission of Brandon, the sisters moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1895 where they remained for one year. The earliest settlers in the town of Fond du Lac, situated south of Lake Winnebago, were undoubtedly French-Canadian. The area had also attracted Irish and German immigrants. They tended to settle in their native group and consequently, a need for ethnic churches soon arose. By 1895 Father Charles Boucher welcomed the Faithful Companions of Jesus from Brandon, to administer and staff a French speaking school which had an enrollment of 100 children. The year 1895-1896 had scarcely been spent when God showed the FCJs that He wished them to pitch their tent elsewhere. "Our modest success incurred the displeasure of the only other religious community in town, which had a large German population." The Faithful Companions of Jesus left Fond du Lac in small groups in July, 1896.

Painting of Fitchburg.In 1896, Father Vignon, Missionary of La Salette, pastor of St. Joseph's Parish, Cleghorn, Fitchburg, Massachusetts was seeking French-speaking sisters to teach in the new parish school which had an enrollment of 200 students. Father Vignon was aware of the presence of the FCJs at Fond du Lac, and he wrote to Mother Philomena there. She confided the contents of the letter to Father Boucher who replied: "I know Fitchburg quite well. You would do well there."

The first small group of sisters arrived in Fitchburg on July 22, 1896, to be joined a few days later by other sisters from Fond du Lac. Their home was on the third floor of the school. "We occupy a superb building situated on an eminence, surrounded by wooded heights." (Annals) "St. Joseph's Parish is peopled exclusively by French Canadians who have preserved their native tongue. The faith of the children is so beautiful, so simple, their regard for us so great, their docility so touching, they make our work and our burden very light." (Annals)

Besides giving their energies to a full day in the classroom, the sisters devoted evenings and weekends to the upbuilding of Sodalities of the Children of Mary, of St. Anne and of the Sacred Heart. Soon they saw the need for religious instruction of boys and girls of the parish who worked in the factories or who attended public school. Besides, they received numerous requests for lessons in music, drawing, painting, art, embroidery, needlework, singing and French.

In 1898, six postulants received the habit in Fitchburg and left for the novitiate, St. Anne d'Auray, Brittany. Over the years many other women followed in their footsteps.

A new convent was built in 1900, which became St. Joseph Academy, a private boarding and day school for girls. It was closed in 1925. The parish school enrollment peaked in 1933 with an enrollment of 1,500with a teaching staff of 30 FCJs. When the sisters moved from the convent to the new home prepared for them at St. Joseph's Rectory in 1975, they continued to administer and to teach in St. Joseph's School until 1982, when the decision was made to withdraw the community from Fitchburg.

House in Gilbertville.Gilbertville, Massachusetts was a small textile manufacturing centre forty miles from Fitchburg. When the Sisters of Mercy withdrew from St. Aloysius school in 1908, the FCJs from Fitchburg were invited to take their place. On August 16, 1909, six FCJs arrived in Gilbertville. They taught in the school, established sodalities, and provided religious instruction in the neighbouring towns of Hardwick and South Barre. As the Catholic population decreased due to closing of mills, so also the enrollment in the school. By 1951 it was apparent that the FCJs would withdraw from Gilbertville.

Photo: Blessed Sacrament School.In 1922 Bishop William Hickey of Providence, Rhode Island, saw the pressing need for parochial schools in his diocese. Since Father Doran of Blessed Sacrament Parish knew the Faithful Companions of Jesus when he was pastor in Gilbertville, Massachusetts, he invited them to Providence. On August 22, 1922, five sisters took up residence at 75 Andem Street. The FCJs undertook the religious instruction of 1,100 children who were attending public school. The sisters also took care of the church sacristy, trained altar servers, and made altar breads.

On September 13, 1925, the new Blessed Sacrament School opened with 454 children enrolled and ten FCJs on staff. Parish records indicate that the Faithful Companions of Jesus contributed as many as thirty sisters each year to the school for fifty years.

Photo: St.Patrick's High School.St. Patrick's High School for Girls in Providence was opened on September 11, 1933. Over the years the school developed an excellent reputation for its overall Christian educational program. In 1969 the State condemned the building, and St. Patrick's High School was relocated in St. Lawrence Parish in North Providence. This move had serious consequences for staff and students, and eventually, in 1984, with the realization of high schools in the diocese of Providence, St. Patrick's High School took its place in the pages of history after 50 years.

Houses on Atkins St. and Mt. Pleasant Avenue.With the renewal of religious life in the 1970's the sisters became involved in all aspects of parish life. As the number of sisters became fewer, the community moved out of the large convent on Atkins St., and moved to 350 Mount Pleasant Avenue. Other houses in the Providence area have been rented, or purchased and sold, as the needs of the community and their ministries changed.


Old house at Portsmouth.St. Philomena Convent, Portsmouth, Rhode Island opened in 1927 as a summer vacation home for the communities of Fitchburg, Gilbertville and Providence. For almost twenty-five years the sisters came to this property on Cory's Lane overlooking Narragansett Bay for days of quiet and rest.

Portsmouth school layout.A small community took up residence at St. Philomena Convent in 1953 and started St. Philomena School (click here for website), a small, private day school and boarding school.

A new building was built in 1965, and by the 1970's some of the sisters began to consider St. Philomena Convent as a home for their retirement years. St. Philomena School, now a day school for Grades K-8continues to expand and to flourish. Sr. Anne Marie Walsh retired in 2006 after 25 years as principal.

Photo of house in Fall River.In 1986 a house was purchased on Robeson St., in Fall River, Massachusetts. This community residence was close enough to Portsmouth to allow members of the community to be a support to the community and school there, as well as to be involved in other ministries.

In 1993, Madeleine Gregg FCJ accepted a professorship at the University of Alabama and a small community was established in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

In 1995 Joanna Walsh FCJ accepted a campus minister position at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina and a small community was established in Durham, North Carolina. (since 1996)

Sister Seraphina Kimball and Sister Dorothy Marie Peterson minister in the name of the FCJ Society in New York (since 1986) and California (since 1996) respectively.

From 1999 to 2002, Shirley Majeau FCJ ministered in Kingstree, South Carolina.

Argentina

Departure for Argentina.View of Cordoba.The first FCJ to live and work in South America, Mary Cavanagh, from the United States, established the house in Córdoba, Argentina, in 1985, in a poor parish on the outer rim of this city, the second largest in Argentina.

Scenes in Cordoba.In the ensuing years, other FCJs joined Mary in Córdoba. Pastoral work, in conjunction with the La Salette missionary congregation, was a strong focus in Córdoba.

Mary and Marjorie at a meeing in Argentina.The first FCJ community house in Córdoba, Argentina was situated in a parish on the outer rim of this city, the second largest in Argentina.

Parish meeting in Cordoba.Shirley Majeau from Canada, pioneered a move to rural areas in the province of Santiago del Estero in the north of Argentina, and was joined there by other FCJs.

After many years of service to the people of Clodomira and the surrounding countryside, Shirley returned to join Mary.


Sr. Shirley with an Argentine family.At about the same time, the FCJ community moved from Sr. Stephanie with children from school.Clodomira to La Banda, also in the Province of Santiago del Estero. Among her activities in Córdoba, Shirley helped a group of women in the barrio to form a mini-company to make and sell traditional products. In December 1998, after 14 years of service in Argentina, Mary and Shirley left Córdoba, and returned to ministries in Canada and the United States.

When Sr. Stephanie was missioned to La Banda, she was instrumental in opening a school for handicapped children. After many years of service in La Banda, Sr. Stephanie now lives in Salta, but keeps in touch with those she knew and worked with in La Banda.

Sr. Patricia with some young Argentine women.Scene near Cordoba.The house in Córdoba was re-opened a year later by Patricia Binchy FCJ to provide an experience of building Christian community for some young women who are discerning their vocation in life.

Towards the end of April, 2001, Marguerite and Trish traveled to visit some places in the north of Argentina, very optimistically exploring the possibilities of an FCJ presence in the north of the country, nearer to Bolivia. For those who enjoy looking at maps, they visited Salta, Jujuy and Oran. Overall, it was a very positive experience, with great possibilities. The needs are great everywhere but the reality of being so few in number has to be taken into account!

FCJ Group picture in Salta.By the end of 2002, a decision was made and Trish, Marguerite and Alicia moved to Salta where they live in a poor and marginalised barrio that has been in existence only a few years.   This city is culturally related to Bolivia and offers a good half-way point between the other two FCJ communities in Bolivia and Argentina.  On February 2, 2004, a new novitiate opened for the New novitiate group.FCJ Province of the Americas in Salta, Argentina. Elizabeth (Ely) Peralta and Silvana Toledo were received as novices by Patricia Binchy, who on February 10 became the new Provincial of the Province of the Americas.

FCJ Sisters from Bolivia and Argentina, together with Patricia and Shirley Majeau (from Canada) gathered to welcome Ely and Silvana. The reception of the new novices took place the day before the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of FCJ presence in South America.

Bolivia

Sr. Paula with a group in Bolivia.

Sr. Anne works with catechists.

 

 

 

 

FCJ ministry in Bolivia began when Paula Mullen, a Canadian FCJ who had been working in Córdoba, Argentina, arrived in Tarija in June 1988.

Paula was quickly joined by other FCJs and the pastoral and educational work of the community grew both in Tarija itself and in the rural areas surrounding it.

Juana Rios was the first Bolivian woman to become a member of the FCJ community.

Mexico

After the formation of the Province of the Americas, the FCJ sisters began a discernment called "Mexico Mañana" to try to hear together whether God was calling them to a new outreach in Mexico. We recognized that Mexico offered a sort of ‘midpoint’ for our Province, between the sisters in South and North America, as well as offering many opportunities for ministry and formation.

After much investigation, prayer and consultation the decision was made to begin by sending a small group (Sisters Nancy, Silvana and Shirley) to Mexico City.


The first FCJs to live in Mexico wrote:  “In the first days we explored the neighborhood. We found a commercial center (Paseo Oriental),  that has banks, Wal-Mart, a movie theater and other things.  Near by we also found a Mexican Commercial Center with businesses of all kinds. 

Close to the house there is a market and many small shops on the street which we pass en route to the parish. It wasn´t  a surprise to anyone that the parish is like Santiago del Estero and Tarija.   

Our first Mass was at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe which we went on our second day.  This was also our first adventure on the subway, a great mode of transportation where millions of people travel each day.  Afterwards, we visited the Zócalo, an enormous central plaza, and found it totally filled with tents of protesters from the last election.”

In 2008, the FCJ Sisters regretfully left Mexico, while hoping to have the opportunity to support ministries there in the future.

Timeline of Major Events in our FCJ History in the Americas ....
June 1883   Arrived in Prince Albert and St. Laurent, Saskatchewan, CANADA
Sept. 1883   Arrived in Brandon, Manitoba, CANADA
1885   FCJs from St. Laurent went to Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Oct. 1888   FCJs arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
Dec. 1890   FCJs arrived in Lethbridge, Alberta, CANADA
Aug. 1892   FCJs arrived in Rat Portage, Ontario, CANADA
1895   FCJs from Brandon opened Fond du Lac, Wisconson, USA
Jan. 1895   School for Native children opened in Duck Lake, Manitoba, CANADA
 1896   FCJs arrived in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA
 1902   Rat Portage closed
 July 1903   Duck Lake closed
 Aug. 1909   Gilbertville, Massachusetts, USA opened
 1922   First community in Providence, RI, USA opened - Blessed Sacrament (first at 75 Andem St. till 1925, then 20 Atkins St. from 1925-1989, finally at 350 Mt. Pleasant Ave.) 

 1925

  In Providence, the new Blessed Sacrament School opened
 1927   St. Philomena, Portsmouth, USA, opened as Summer Home

 1933

  St. Patrick's High School opened in Providence
 Aug. 1948   Combermere, Ontario, CANADA, opened
 1949   St. Philomena School, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, USA opened (click here for website); FCJs take up residence year round
 Aug. 1951   First community in Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, opened - at Lawrence Ave. for 2 Weeks; then at Jane St. for 2 Months, then at King St. from Nov.17, 1951 until moving to Beaumaris Crescent in 1989
 1952   Gilbertville closed
 1966   Midnapore, Alberta, CANADA opened
 1968   Midnapore closed
 1969   Lowther Ave., Toronto, CANADA opened St. Lawrence, North Providence, USA opened
 1971   Lowther Ave., Toronto closed
 1973   Oyen, Alberta, CANADA opened
 1974   Combermere closed. Second Toronto community, Richgrove opened
 1980   St. Lawrence, North Providence, closed
 1981   Third Toronto community, Grant St., opened
FCJ Christian Life Centre, Calgary, opened (click here for website)
 1982   Grant St. community moved to Hamilton St.
Oyen closed
University Avenue, Pawtucket, RI, USA opened
Fitchburg community closed
 1984   University Ave., Pawtucket, closed
FCJs went to Cordoba, ARGENTINA
 1986   New Hazelton, BC, CANADA opened with ministry in The Hazeltons and Moricetown
In Toronto, Richgrove community closed and Dovercourt opened
Pawtucket community moved to Fall River, MA, USA
FCJ ministry began in New York, USA
1987   FCJs went to Santiago Del Estero, ARGENTINA, first to Clodomira and then to La Banda
1988   FCJ Ministry began in Tarija, BOLIVIA
FCJ ministry began in Bangalore, INDIA and continued until 1996
 1989   FCJ ministry undertaken in Igloolik, Nunavut, CANADA and continued until June, 2000
Hamilton Street, Toronto, closed to make Hamilton House Refugee Project possible
 1991   FCJs go to Kitimat, British Columbia, CANADA
Hamilton House Refugee Project opened formally (click here for website)
 1993   FCJs go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
 1994 Brunswick Avenue opened in Toronto
FCJ ministry began in Windsor, Ontario, CANADA and continued until 1995
 1996   FCJs go to Durham, North Carolina
FCJ ministry began in El Cerrito (later Oakland), California, USA
FCJ ministry began in Fredericton, New Brunswick, CANADA
 1997   FCJ ministry continued in Moricetown, BC, CANADA after New Hazelton closed
1999   FCJ ministry began in Kingstree, South Carolina
2000 FCJ ministry ends in Kingstree, Souh Carolina
2001 New Hazelton is closed and a new community is formed in Smithers BC
2002 A new house is opened in Salta, Argentina
2002 On September 1, the Canadian Province, the US Province and Bolivia and Argentina united to form the new PROVINCE of the AMERICAS
2002 A new FCJ Community begins at 2312-22 Ave SW in Calgary, with a responsibility for hospitality and welcoming young women who want an experience of community living
2003 FCJ Hamilton House Refugee Project in Toronto moves to Oakwood Avenue and changes name to FCJ Refugee Centre (web site)
2004 The FCJs leave Kitimat, BC
2004 A second community is opened in Edmonton, Alberta (Emmaus) in a rented house to welcome those wanting an experience of community living.
2005 The Emmaus community moves to a new house in Edmonton.
2006 Shirley Majeau, Nancy Mitchell, Silvana Toledo are missioned to start a new community in Mexico City, renting living space from the Sacred Heart Sisters
2008 Several FCJs in Toronto moved to two new houses on Palmerston Avenue.
2008 FCJs leave Mexico but hope to maintain support for ministry in Mexico
2009 A project to support foreign nannies working in Calgary was opened
2009 The St. Philomena Convent building was closed.
2011 9th Avenue and 22nd Avenue communities in Calgary closed; a new house 'Shalom' is opened in MacKensie Towne, in the far south of the city.