Missionary Oblate Sisters

Missionary Oblate Sisters: Vision and Mission

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Missionary Oblate Sisters
    Book Description:

    Bruno-Jofré draws extensively from private archives and oral histories to bring to light the inner life of the congregation and their educational work. She demonstrates that the Sisters played an important role in building a French Canadian identity in Manitoba and Quebec and provides a glimpse into their complex relationship with the Oblate Fathers including their role as auxiliaries in the residential schools.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7313-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    It was in October 1989 that Dr Rosa Bruno-Jofré had just begun teaching Educational Foundations and History of Education courses at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. She felt hampered by the lack of resources available for her students to research the history of education in the province, particularly women’s contributions to education. She soon set out to organize a committee called the Community of Inquirers supporting the History of Education Project at the University of Manitoba. The committee was made up of students, professors, and retired teachers. Having been in contact with the Faithful Companions of Jesus, a...

  4. Introduction and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)

    In 1904 the archbishop of St Boniface, Monseigneur Adelard Langevin, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate (OMI), founded the Missionary Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate, a Manitoban French-English bilingual teaching congregation. Few are aware that the archbishop created the Congregation as a form of “protestation” in the aftermath of the Manitoba school question to the growing anglicization of the common school at the turn of the century. The Sisters’ low profile over the years was sadly reversed in the 1990s with the denunciation of the residential schools, where the Sisters had worked as auxiliaries of the Oblate...

  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-2)
  6. I The Early Years, 1902-1905
    (pp. 3-21)

    On 19 March 1895 Father Louis-Philippe Adelard Langevin, provincial superior of the Oblate vicariate of Saint- Boniface and parish priest of Saint Mary’s in Winnipeg, was consecrated archbishop of Saint-Boniface. He succeeded Archbishop Alexandre Tache who died in 1894. He received a diocese that included Manitoba, the district of Keewatin to the north, and northwestern Ontario to the east down to Lake Superior, as well as the district of Assiniboia to the west, which extended into southern Saskatchewan.² Langevin began his pastoral work as archbishop at the peak of the Manitoba School Question.

    The school question refers to the school...

  7. II Institutionalizing the Early Community, 1906-1915
    (pp. 22-44)

    After the first two rocky years following Ida Lafricain’s transfer from Montreal and her painful adjustment to a new environment, Archbishop Langevin was able to anchor his project more firmly. He now had two related tasks for his Congregation: to write constitutions to provide a basic organization and institutional structure, and to inculcate the principles and rules of consecrated life to its members.

    Langevin began instructing the Sisters on the constitutions in 1905, although he completed the first draft only in 1906. These early constitutions had of course a lot in common with other constitutions of the time. They regulated...

  8. III Moving Ahead, 1916-1927: Mother St Viateur’s Leadership, the Power of the Deinstitutionalizing Voice, and the Redirection Set by the New Constitutions
    (pp. 45-70)

    The death of Archbishop Langevin deeply affected the community, which had relied on the wisdom of the Founder as a cohesive and integrating force. Authority derived from Langevin.¹ Mother St Viateur expressed her profound anguish to Father Henri Bernard and told him fifteen days after Langevin’s death that she often talked to the latter asking for advice as though he were still alive.² She was quoted as saying, “I have to command in darkness, how difficult I find these moments.”³

    However, Mother St Viateur moved the Congregation ahead by building on Langevin’s foundations, while trying to manoeuver at the intersection...

  9. IV The Crisis, the First General Chapter of 1927, and the Extraordinary Chapter of 1929
    (pp. 71-84)

    The code of canon law promulgated in 1917 mandated that the sisters hold their first General Chapter with representatives from the entire Congregation. As Marguerite Viau recalled in an interview held in 1994,¹ Archbishop Beliveau, Langevin’s successor, found that it was time to have a chapter. Langevin had talked about it in 1914 but he had been too ill to press for it. Mother St Viateur’s first circular letter, dated 2.5 July 1927, announced that the first General Chapter of the Congregation would open on 18 August 1927, in her words, "to elect a new general administration, keep religious discipline...

  10. V Experiencing Apostolic Life
    (pp. 85-140)

    The foundation of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblate Sisters was not the result of a mystical experience but a response to needs that Archbishop Adelard Langevin had identified, especially with reference to the Manitoba school question. The uniqueness of the prairies, most particularly the historical, ethnocultural, and socioeconomic conditions in Manitoba (including its changing demographic reality), gave the work of the mission a special connotation. There was a clear understanding that the Oblate Sisters were not meant for the upper classes, and the Congregation did not place emphasis on the dowry as some other congregations did.

    With few exceptions,...

  11. VI Establishing Bonding Memories through The Myth of Foundation and Returning to the Past in the Search for Renewal
    (pp. 141-158)

    The Congregation of the Missionary Oblate Sisters construed its official memories as a means of building cohesion, group identity, and solidarity. In that process, particular events in the Congregation’s myth of foundation became central to the narrative while others remained invisible, were not included, or appeared only in a marginal manner. This chapter analyses the discursive components involved in the Sisters’ interpretation of their own foundation and understanding of their own history. Alongside the official record of memories that are located in written texts, rules, oral accounts, symbols, rituals, social life, and public events, there is also a parallel set...

  12. APPENDIX A Tables
    (pp. 159-164)
  13. APPENDIX B Maps
    (pp. 165-170)
  14. APPENDIX C Missionary Oblate Sisters’ Houses
    (pp. 171-190)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 191-212)
  16. Index
    (pp. 213-220)