In focus

Contagious charity

Although they develop most of their work in Ottawa, the Grey Nuns of the Cross also expand their educational and charitable activities to other regions. They gradually establish themselves in various regions of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and even the United States, where they operate orphanages, residential schools, parish schools and health service facilities. They are found in New York, New Hampshire and, most notably, Massachusetts. They are especially present in the city of Lowell, a manufacturing hub in the American textile economy that draws a significant number of French-Canadian migrant workers in the early 20th century. Today, they are involved in the city’s parish activities, the D’Youville Life & Wellness Community convalescence centre, established in 1960, and the Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc School, founded in 1910.

The Grey Nuns of Ottawa also expand their initiatives abroad by opening homes in Lesotho (1931), Malawi (1946), Japan (1960), Zambia (1961), Brazil (1961), Haiti (1967), Cameroon (1996) and South Africa (2000). This international expansion, particularly in Latin America and the African continent, parallels that of many religious communities after the Second World War, especially women’s communities. Faced with secularization of the Church’s central institutions, especially in the 1960s, missionary commitment infuses their evangelization mandate with new energy.