We, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, moved by the Spirit
From the very conceptualization of Jean-Pierre Medaille’s dream for active women religious his Sisters had been ready and willing to leave the comfort of familiar surroundings to follow Christ whatever that might mean … hence they came to North America in 1836 and to Canada in 1851.
The mid-thirties were phoenix years in Northern Ontario. The Great Depression had finally ended and new employment was giving rise to swells of industry and population everywhere. The vast diocese of Sault Ste. Marie had a zealous young bishop at its helm. Bishop Ralph Hubert Dignan was determined to have a group of diocesan Sisters who would be at the ready for response to diocesan needs. In late 1935 and early 1936, Bishop Dignan met personally with every Sister serving in the Sault diocese. They were invited and challenged to become the nucleus of a new community. Ties and allegiance to the Peterborough community would be severed. The Sisters were cautioned to proceed with personal prayer and not to be influenced in any way by discussion with each other. The Bishop himself would attend to necessary protocol with Rome.
November 5, 1936 was the day official notice was received that the new Congregation had come into being. One hundred and twenty one (121) courageous souls had stepped forward to be the nucleus of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie. The Bishop took a prime role in the affairs of the new community even to appointing a temporary General Council. An election would not be held until the fall of 1937. Ministry sites in North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Port Arthur and Fort William were to be maintained with the exceptions being St. Agnes and St. Joseph Convents, Fort William.