Parks Canada

Parks Canada

March 29, 2010 11:30 ET

The Government of Canada Highlights the National Historic Importance of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph

The Congregation that originated the country's Hospital Network is celebrated

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 29, 2010) - On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Claude Carignan, Senator, today unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the national historical significance of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.

"I am proud to take part in commemorating the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, a community established to support the project of colonizing Ville-Marie and whose history cannot be dissociated from that of Montréal," said Senator Carignan. "Their contribution in the field of health care in Canada is remarkable, since they laid the foundation for a hospital system in Canada."

These nuns, who arrived at Montréal's Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in 1659, became nursing leaders in both French and English Catholic Canada. From the beginning of the 20th century they established and administered renowned nursing schools and were one of the foremost Catholic congregations in the movement to professionalize nursing. Combining their apostolate with advances in medicine, this order was one of the few to establish substantial, lasting health-care services in several provinces, an accomplishment that greatly supported the development of a hospital system in Canada.

"Today we are celebrating the women who played a central role in organizing and providing care. Women who managed nursing and who were hospitallers and pharmacists, in addition to being capable managers and ensuring that their undertaking would endure," said Minister Prentice. "For more than three centuries, the Hospitallers of St. Joseph have dispensed care in a spirit of universality, coping with ordeals and keeping pace with the progress of medicine."

Created in 1919 and supported by Parks Canada, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment about the national historical significance of persons, places, and events that have marked Canada's history. The placement of a commemorative plaque represents an official recognition of their historical value to the country.

Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that commemorate persons, places and events that have shaped Canada's history. In 2011, Parks Canada will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Parks Canada
    Melissa Larose
    Communications Advisor