St. Anne, Sisters of

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(SSA, Official Catholic Directory #3720); a congregation founded at Vaudreuil, P.Q., Canada, in 1850 by Marie Esther Sureau-Blondin (Mother Marie Anne) during the episcopacy of Ignace bourget. Miss Blondin, educated in her village school but enriched by 15 years of teaching experience, sought to establish rural schools for the neglected children of the Canadian countryside and to tend the sick poor. She opened her schools to boys as well as girls, to Protestants as well as Catholics, and free of national bias, she taught English to her French-speaking students. All these were exceptional procedures in her day. Her educational aim was one of service to both the Church and the nation. The spirit of the rule, modeled on that of St. Ignatius and approved by Rome in 1903, requires the Sisters of St. Anne to emulate the holy women of the Gospel particularly in the service they had rendered the nascent Church. In time the sisters came to serve in schools (elementary through college), hospitals, homes for the aged, dispensaries, and foreign missions.

In 1858 four sisters made an arduous two-month trip to establish a missionary outpost on Vancouver Island in western Canada. Their primitive log cabin was the beginning of the hospitals, Indian residential schools, boarding schools, and sanitariums for the aged and destitute that later developed in British Columbia, Alaska, and the Yukon Territory. In 1880 the community began answering the invitations of the pastors of Franco-American parishes and gradually took over bilingual schools in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. A Japanese mission was opened in 1934. In Omuta, in the Diocese of Fukuoka, six sisters conducted a commercial high school and a kindergarten. In October 1942 they were interned in a concentration camp, but were repatriated the following autumn. The closing of that mission coincided with the opening of a new field of service in the Diocese of Les Cayes, Haiti, where the sisters conduct one secondary and four elementary schools, three dispensaries, and a novitiate for native candidates.

In the U.S., the sisters are engaged in academic education, catechetics, campus ministry, chaplaincies, retreats, spiritual direction, counseling, pastoral ministry, nursing, and the care of the aged. The generalate is in Lachine, Quebec, Canada. The U.S. provincialate is in Marlboro, MA.

[m. j. chauvin/eds.]

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St. Anne, Sisters of

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