The Community of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross
The Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross (Soeurs-de-Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix) had their beginning in Murinais, near Grenoble in southeast France, in 1832. They were founded by Adèle de Murinais, eldest daughter of M. le Marquis and Mme la Marquise D'Auberjon de Murinais, after whom the town is named, and who were exemplary Christians and helpful parishioners.
From a young age, Adèle, a prayerful and zealous girl, organized prayer with her friends for the glory of God, taught religion to children, faithfully visited the sick, and had concern for the poor.
Appreciative of Adèle's zeal and abilities, which included setting up a pharmacy, the parish priest, Father Buisson, encouraged her to organize an association for the charity work she did with her friends. She immediately established the aim and the name – Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul, later known as the cradle of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross.
The work of the association soon spread to the extreme ends of the parish and into the countryside, reaching out to the sick and the poor. Within two years, three of the young girls in the association manifested the desire to become religious women and teachers. Joy filled Father Buisson and Adèle, who had dearly wished they had a school for girls. Here was their hope. The three girls went to the Sisters of St. Joseph de Chambery for their initial training. Back in Murinais in October, the three Maries, as they were often called, moved to a residence as a community with the rule of St. Joseph Sisters, a uniform, and new names. Adèle saw to their daily needs, helping them adjust to their new life and mission. As Sisters of the Cross, they opened the first girls' school in November 1832.
With the approval and authorization of Bishop Bruillard, the three young women made their first vows on July 2, 1834. New members were accepted. The parish was excited. Adèle, though not a member herself, continued to help the women with their training, and Father Buisson acted as their spiritual guide. The group continued to grow. The Bishop maintained a special interest due to their twofold mission: education and care for the sick.
With Adèle's great devotion to the Mystery of the Cross, the name of the community became Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross, with special devotion to Mary at the foot of the Cross. With the spirit of Simplicity, Poverty and Charity, and a passionate love for the poor, the sick and education, the community’s principal aim remained the reign and glory of God, bringing souls to Christ, and personal sanctification.
As the group increased in number, new facilities were needed. With the financial help of Adèle's mother, Mme la Marquise, a large new building was constructed in October 1840 to be used as Mother House, Novitiate and boarding school. By 1857, when Adèle died at the age of 54, the community had fifteen institutions in its care; by 1902, there were more than 60. However, due to the religious persecution in France at the time, many of their schools were confiscated and then closed. The community almost collapsed. Only the hospitals and the Sisters’ care for the sick were respected. Sisters were dispersed. Some went back to their families, while some travelled to Belgium, the United States and Canada (to Forget, in southeastern Saskatchewan), where the La Salette Fathers welcomed them and asked them to start a bilingual school. From there they were quickly asked to open schools and homes for the aged in other parts of Saskatchewan, in Alberta and in British Columbia.
Though all these institutions are now closed, or their ownership has been transferred, the Sisters, along with others, continue to work in various ministries. To spread the glory, knowledge and love of God, through responding to the needs of all people, remains the community’s main objective.
Sisters of Our Lady of the Cross
Soeurs de Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix
21, Huntington Place, Saskatoon, SK S7H 4L7
Tel: (306) 373-3176
Fax: (306) 374-0183