A forum of Catholic Thought

Culture



Mission stories: Sisters of Charity of Ottawa

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article on social media

When the first six Sisters of Charity arrived in Lowell from Ottawa in 1880, the city was teeming with French Canadians drawn to work in the city's textile mills. Those first sisters staffed the Immaculate Conception parish school and met the needs of poor immigrant families by provided education as well as secure care for their children.

Frank
Mazzaglia

In preparation for World Mission Sunday, Oct. 19, The Pilot is featuring the stories of some of the missionary groups and orders with connections to the Archdiocese of Boston. This week, we feature The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, part of the general community of Grey Nuns of St. Marguerite d'Youville. Commonly known as the Grey Nuns of the Cross, they were founded by Mother Elizabeth Bruyerre; this story focuses on their work in Greater Lowell.

When the first six Sisters of Charity arrived in Lowell from Ottawa in 1880, the city was teeming with French Canadians drawn to work in the city's textile mills. Those first sisters staffed the Immaculate Conception parish school and met the needs of poor immigrant families by provided education as well as secure care for their children.

With new vocations, the sisters then established St. Joseph School in 1883 and St. Jeanne d'Arc School in 1910, which still exists today. They also taught at Notre Dame de Lourdes School, and established St. Joseph's High School.

Father Marc Bishop, former pastor of St. Rita and St. Marguerite d'Youville observed, "What makes the Sisters of Charity so special is that they always meet the needs of the people when the people needed them most." Evidence of Father Bishop's comments came when the sisters took a leadership role in health care.

When the Lowell Corporation Hospital closed its doors in 1927, hardworking mill workers lost the health care they depended upon. Thanks to Father Louis Bachard, O.M.I., however, the hospital deed transferred to the Boston Archdiocese and the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa administered the newly named St. Joseph's Hospital for the next 62 years, until 1992 when the city's two Catholic Hospitals, St. John's and St. Joseph's merged to become Saints Memorial Hospital.

Noting the area's growing elderly population, the Sisters of Charity established the ultra-modern d'Youville Life and Wellness Community in 1960, which includes such services as long term care, senior independent living, rehabilitation services, a wellness institute, and adult day care. The d'Youville Life and Wellness Center is also building a state of the art facility for assisted living and supportive services.

Today, The sisters also provide a home for some 14 young women students in Bachand Hall through a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

It is said that once a missionary, always a missionary. Certainly that is true of the good Sisters of Charity of Ottawa who do their work quietly, humbly and within the spirit of true missionaries.

Frank Mazzaglia is associated with the Missionary Alliance, which is comprised of religious missionary congregations of priests, sisters, brothers, and lay people in the Archdiocese of Boston whose members toil in the vineyards for Christ all over the world.

Frank Mazzaglia is associated with the Missionary Alliance, which is comprised of religious missionary congregations of priests, sisters, brothers, and lay people in the Archdiocese of Boston whose members toil in the vineyards for Christ all over the world.

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article on social media

Recent articles in the Culture & Events section