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14 December 2021

160 years of trusting in Providence

On Monday, December 13, the Kingston founded religious congregation Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul celebrated 160 years of service across Canada and beyond. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, this celebration was not open to members of the public but the sisters gratefully appreciate your prayer support. Since their founding on December 13, 1861, the Sisters have committed to offering compassionate service in response to the needs of the times.

The Sisters began health care ministries in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. The Sisters’ ministries included Academic Education and Music, Social Work such as Group Homes and Orphanages, and diverse Spiritual ministries, including missions in Guatemala and Peru.

The Sisters have worked diligently to address the root causes of poverty, not only as leaders in charity, but also as a strong voice for justice. Many long running initiatives organized or supported by the Sisters helped keep social justice issues visible to all wherever the Sisters were in ministry. This included years of weekly Friday Vigils at Kingston City Hall focusing on poverty; the Healing Violence Committee’s conferences and events that focused on gender violence and human trafficking; the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary’s focus on food security; the rallies and vigils for reinstating prison farms that focused on prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Sisters are no longer on the front lines of education and health care, but schools and hospitals carry on the legacy first established by the congregation over a century ago. With the Sisters membership dwindling, they remain hopeful for the future into which they are navigating. The Sisters’ Legacy includes: Land from the former Brockville St. Vincent de Paul Hospital for the Marguerita Residence Corporation to build apartments for seniors, who are a vulnerable population today; Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa; Two local community groups receiving hundreds of varieties of seeds from their Heirloom Seed Sanctuary; Other community groups like St. Vincent de Paul Society receiving funding for ministries dear to the Sisters’ work.

As well, the Sisters transferred the land that they live on to the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario (CHSO). This land transfer is just one of the steps the Sisters have made towards a legacy for the future, which they call “Providence Village”. Providence Village will address needs in the greater Kingston community by offering a variety of services in a central hub. Providence Care and Hospice Kingston announced their intent to build new facilities on this land and more partners are to come.

After 160 years, the Sisters continue to navigate the future by following their mission: “Serving with Compassion, Trusting in Providence, We Walk in Hope.”

For more information about the Sisters, visit our website: www.providence.ca

For more information about Providence Village, visit the website: www.providencevillage.ca