July 16, 1900: First Sisters of St. Martha Arrived in Antigonish

by | Jul 13, 2018 | Formation, Sisters of Charity

The Sisters of St. Martha are featured in this video about exploring the effects of changing climate in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, a beautiful rural coastal community. (We’ve skipped to the part where we hear from the Marthas but you can watch the whole video by rewinding to the beginning if you wish…)

Congregation History
The first members came from a group of women who had responded to a call in 1894 from Bishop of Antigonish John Cameron. They were to be part of an auxiliary congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in Halifax, and prepared for the ministry of household management at St. Francis Xavier College. Mother Fidelis, the Superior General of the Sisters of Charity at the time the sisters were to come to Antigonish in 1897, maintained that the ‘Sisterhood” of the auxiliary sisters had been established a year before Bishop Cameron asked the Sisters of Charity to include St. F.X. University among the institutes managed by the members of the auxiliary sisters. Both views could be correct. […] In 1897 a group of sisters, known as the Sisters of Saint Martha, came to Saint Francis Xavier College; they were still under the direction of the Sisters of Charity. The sisters worked in the household department of St. Francis Xavier, reorganizing, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the sick in the university infirmary. In 1900 Bishop Cameron expressed a wish to establish a separate congregation for Saint Francis Xavier College from among the sisters of the Antigonish diocese who had entered and trained in Halifax. […] On July 16, 1900, the first volunteers arrived in Antigonish. Source: Wikipedia

By the 1920’s, the sisters were known from the east coast to the prairies of Western Canada. Their spirit of hospitality, simplicity and humanness became a blessing the sisters carried to sick people, homeless and neglected children, unmarried mothers, families in need and students in rural schools. Source: themarthas.com

The Marthas Leadership Team (as of 2016). Left to right:
Sisters Brendalee Boisvert, Congregation Leader, Stella Chafe, Assistant Congregation Leader, Joanne O’Regan, Councillor, Florence Kennedy, Councillor, and Donna Brady, Councillor. Source: themarthas.com