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  • History


About the U.S.-Ontario Province

SNJM ministries in the Northwest began in 1859, the year Oregon became a state. Twelve Holy Names Sisters traveled from the Mother House in Longueuil, Quebec to begin ministering in the Portland area. They built schools, founded orphanages and ministered in parishes throughout the region. SNJM ministries were later established on the East Coast, in California, Washington, Mississippi and the Canadian province of Ontario. Formation of the U.S.-Ontario Province reconfigured five predominately English-speaking SNJM provinces into one administrative unit in 2006. The Province offices are in Marylhurst, Oregon.

For more information about our Province’s historical archives, please visit the website of the Holy Names Heritage Center.

About Our Foundresses

marierose newEulalie Durocher (Blessed Mother Marie Rose) was born in Quebec on October 6, 1811, in the village of St. Antoine on the Richelieu River. As the housekeeper at the rectory in Beloeil and the facilitator of pastoral activities from 1831 to 1843, she embraced the unmet need for schooling for poor children, especially girls. A favorite verse of hers from the Bible was, "I have come to cast fire on the earth. How I wish that fire were blazing already!"

On October 28, 1843, Melodie Dufresne (Sister Marie Agnes) and Henriette Cere (Sister Marie Madeleine) joined Eulalie to begin their work in the foundation house owned by St-Antoine-de-Padoue Parish. Pupils and aspirants to religious life soon joined them at the house, located in front of the church in Longueuil, Quebec.

By August 1844, the Sisters and students were so numerous that they needed to move to a new convent. On December 8, 1844, Bishop Ignace Bourget presided at the official establishment of the Congregation. It was on this occasion that the three foundresses made their religious profession.

By the time of Mother Marie Rose’s death in 1849, the Congregation had four houses and 44 religious (including seven novices and seven candidates). By the opening of Vatican II in 1962, 4,000 Sisters residing in 277 houses were teaching more than 100,000 students in Canada, the United States, Lesotho, Peru and Brazil. Over the years, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary have given more than 6,500 religious to the world and the Church.  Today, the Congregation's mission continues in Canada, the United States, Lesotho, Brazil, and Peru.