Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of the
HOLY NAMES OF JESUS AND MARY, SISTERS OF THE
A religious congregation (SNJM, Official Catholic Directory #1990) canonically established at Longueuil, Quebec, Canada (1844), by Bp. Ignatius Bourget of Montreal for the Christian education of children and young girls. The institute was legally incorporated by the Canadian Parliament on March 17, 1845. The decree of praise was issued by Pope Pius IX, Feb. 27, 1863; temporary approval of the constitutions followed on Sept. 4, 1877, and definite approval on June 26, 1901.
The need for recruits for his diocese led Bourget to Marseilles, France, in 1841, where Bp. Charles Eugène de Mazenod offered him the services of his newly established oblates of mary immaculate. Peter Telmon, OMI, was assigned to the parish of Beloeil, Canada. Two years later Telmon made an unsuccessful appeal for religious teachers to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary of Marseilles. The idea then developed of establishing a new community. To Eulalie Durocher (1811–49), a young woman of Beloeil, was confided the task of adapting the rule of the Marseilles community to conditions in Canada. Melodie Dufresne and Henriette Cere joined her and for several months they lived as novices under the direction of Francis Allard, OMI. When Bourget decided they were ready for admission to religious profession and for the canonical erection of the institute, the double ceremony took place on Dec. 8, 1844. The bishop then organized the first government of the Sisters of the Holy Names by appointing Mother Marie Rose Durocher superior, novice mistress, and procurator; Sister M. Agnes Dufresne, assistant; and Sister M. Madeleine Cere, general directress of manual work.
The community soon attracted other young women and the work was expanded by the opening of schools in Beloeil (1846) and in St. Lin and St. Timothy (1848). When Mother Marie Rose died on Oct. 6, 1849, she was succeeded as superior general by Mother Veronica Davignon (1849–57). Her contribution was the consolidation of the work and the preparation of the sisters for the expansion that was to come under her successor, Mother Theresa Martin, who was superior general for a decade (1857–67).
Responding to the urgent appeal of a missionary in the U.S., Abp. Francis Norbert Blanchet of Oregon City, Mother Theresa selected 12 from among the 72 members of her community and sent them (1859) to the Pacific Coast. Others joined them in Oregon in 1863 and 1864. In 1865, in response to an invitation from Bp. John J. Conroy of Albany, N.Y., a convent and an academy were established there. About the same time, Bp. Augustine Verot of St. Augustine, Fla., applied to the motherhouse for sisters. Under Mother Mary Stanislaus (1867–77), fourth superior general, missions were founded in Florida and California, and in Manitoba, Canada. A school that was opened in Oakland, Calif. (1868), at the invitation of Abp. Joseph S. Alemany of San Francisco, became the center from which elementary and secondary schools were established throughout California.
During the 20th century foundations multiplied: elementary and secondary schools, normal schools and colleges. In 1931 a mission was established in Basutoland, South Africa. A school was established (1931) in Kagoshima, Japan, but extreme nationalistic feeling made it necessary to recall the sisters in 1940. A native Japanese community maintains the school at Kagoshima. Three sisters from the California Province went to Arequipa, Peru, on Dec. 27, 1961. The generalate in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada directs the work of the community. There are four provinces in the U.S.: Oregon (estb. 1859), California (estb. 1868), New York (estb. 1865) and Washington (estb. 1962).
Bibliography: j. b. code, Great American Foundresses (New York 1929). e. t. dehey, Religious Orders of Women in the U. S. (Hammond, Ind. 1930). p. j. b. duchaussois, Rose of Canada (Montreal 1934). m. f. dunn, Gleanings of Fifty Years (Portland, Ore. 1909). j. m. melancon, Life of Mother Marie Rose (Montreal 1930).
[l. m. lyons/eds.]