Grey Nuns History

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Louis Riel, leader of the Métis, founder of Manitoba. This man is widely acknowledged as the Father of Manitoba due to his involvement in the history and creation of the province of Manitoba. In the late 1800s, women did not get the same recognition for their efforts as the men did. There was a group of important women who moved to the Red River Settlement that has not been given the credit it deserves for their work in establishing a thriving community, which became Manitoba. This group of women was known as the Grey Nuns, or “les Soeurs Grises”. For one to understand why the Grey Nuns were so vital to the Red River Settlement, one must first know the history of the Grey Nuns, the hardships that they endured on their way to the Red River Settlement,…show more content…
The founder of this organization was a woman named Madame Marie-Marguerite d’Youville. After the death of her husband, she became poor but still managed to make a living for herself and her family. Looking around, however, she noticed many other people were not well off. Using what money she made from her shop and needlework, she helped those in need as much as she could. In 1753 Madame d’Youville, along with a few other women who had been assisting her in helping others, was asked to take over the operation of Montreal’s General Hospital. The hospital “was in poor condition and had no money” (King p. 3) but d’Youville and her followers were very committed to their people. They cleaned, repaired and refurnished the almost ruined building. Although Madame d’Youville took in sick patients, the majority of people she aided were the elderly who had no one to take care of them. The women also took in abandoned or orphaned children and babies. “The women of the hospital ‘staff’ begged for food and clothes for all their needy charges, often doing without themselves” (5, King, Dennis). They were willing to do whatever it took to help those in need. When they needed more hands to help them do their labor, they became a religious order to appeal to more women. Madame d’Youville became the leader of the order, the Mother Superior, or Mother d’Youville. The order was called the ‘Sisters of Charity’, and they “dressed in a simple grey…show more content…
He came to ask for help from the nuns, as Red River did not have a school for girls, and it was desperately needed. The problem with moving to the Red River was that life would be considerably harder than it had been in Montreal. The decision was up to the Council of the Order, which included senior women in the Grey Nuns. The council appointed three nuns, and those three women were to choose a fourth nun to accompany them. At thirty-five years old, Sister Valade was chosen to be the Mother Superior of the four chosen. Sister Marie Lagrave, a trained nurse, was picked to move, along with Sister Coutlée, who, at only twenty-four years old, was to teach the children. The three women opted for Sister Lafrance, an energetic and avid worker, to join them. Since it was too late in the year to travel, the women had to wait until the spring to begin their journey. They prepared throughout the winter with the promise of a school and house with a garden awaiting them in their new
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