With a joyful spirit, together with our Sisters of Social Service around the world, we Sisters of Social Service of Canada are delighted to celebrate the centennial of the founding of the community in Stockholm, Saskatchewan, December 24, 2023.
The Sisters of Social Service were intially founded in 1908 in Hungary as a response to the needs of those who were socially, economically and politically powerless. Grounded in Benedictine spirituality, they are professionally trained to serve in the fields of social work, evangelization, women’s movements, and social justice. Three Sisters Ida Horvath, Julia Lampert and Paula Ronai arrived in Canada on December 24, 1923 to minister to the Hungarian community in Stockholm, Saskatchewan.
They extended into Ontario at the invitation of Bishop Joseph Ryan, sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton, who in 1943 asked the SSS to take a census of the Hungarians in the City of Hamilton. This was the beginning of St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in Hamilton. Bishop Ryan then asked the Sisters of Social Service to stay in Hamilton and run a retreat centre at Auchmar House, which they renamed; first as Mount Cenacle and then later as the Holy Spirit Centre. This was opened on August 25th, 1946. The SSS continued to run retreats out of the Holy Spirit Centre until 1999 when the property was sold to the City of Hamilton. Several parish communities in the Diocese of Hamilton originated from the Holy Spirit Centre during this time. The Sisters of Social Service were a major force in the development of the Diocese of Hamilton. Other works in the Hamilton Diocese included CYO programs and Camp; home visiting in Courtland; prison visitation; accommodation for single working women; and clinical pastoral ministry to mention just a few.
In 1942 the Sisters went to Toronto and were involved in parish and school social work, Marriage Tribunal, and refugee work.
The Sisters also continued to bring their ministry to places in the West—in Regina, Calgary and parts of Manitoba.