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CCHA, Study Sessions, 47(1980), 57-68

The Sisters of Charity of Halifax – The Early and Middle Years

by Sister Marianna O’GALLAGHER, S.C.H. Quebec, P.Q.

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul , Halifax, form a ponti ical

institute whose motherhouse is at H al i fax, Nova Scotia. In 1980 the congregation numbered 124 4 members, living, working, studying, praying,

rom coast to coast, rom the Yuko n t o H al ifax, as well as in the United States, Bermuda, Peru, and the Dominican Republi c. Th eir works encompass

the traditional roles of religious sisters: teachin g an d administration in

universities, colleges, elementary and high schools, both public and parochial; administration and nursing in hospitals, both public and p ri vate;

nursing an d care of the elderly and children in institutions; social work of many kinds, for example, in homes fo r u n w ed mothers and, most recently, in

fo s t e r h o me s . The community also has a long history of work i n Indian schools, in

Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Today new ields of w o rk h av e been

added: administrativ e work in chancery ofices, in catechetics programs on both diocesan and parish levels; direction of retreat houses; chaplaincy work

on the campus of universities, in hospitals, at military bases, in drug rehabilitation centers and in prisons. Th e variety of call and response found

in these roles is possible because of the common sense heritag e t h at is ours rom both Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Elizabeth An n e Set o n .1 Saint


Elizabeth BAYLEY (Mother Seton) was born in New York City in

1774, and died in Emmitsburg, Maryland, 47 years later. She was canonized in 1975. In her short lifetime she married and had ive children, was widowed, and

battled to support her children and her principles. Born into an Episcopalian family ofhigh society,shedeveloped a devotion to the Scriptures early in herlife.

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