Coming Full Circle
Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall
This Week in History January 1, 2016
On December 31, 2015, Sister Alice Laurin, s.a.s.v., retired from her post as director of Shalom House, the diocesan retreat centre (see Oc-tober 12, 2015).
On January 1, 2016, the Sisters of the Holy Cross took over the leader-ship of Shalom House. Ironically, it was these same Sisters, who on October 17 1974 donated Iona Academy, their former residence, to the Diocese to be used as the new diocesan retreat centre that Bishop LaRocque sought to create.
The Holy Cross Sisters originally came to our Diocese in 1856, at the request of Reverend John MacLaughlin, who sought to set up a school for girls. Four sisters, led by Soeur Marie des Sept-Douleurs, arrived in Lancaster from Montreal, before making their way to Alexandria. Their first convent was a log cabin and their first school, St. Margarets, one room.
On September 12, 1912, four sisters took up residence in St. Raphaels to teach in the elementary school and then the high school two years later.
Over the next century the Sisters of the Holy Cross, both the English and the French, made many contributions to our Diocese. They continued to work as teachers, especially important in our French Catholic schools. In addition, some did social work, some ran retreat and religious education programs, some worked as chaplains, etc... The sisters also bought, built or financed the following schools or boarding schools:
Notre-Dame, Glen Nevis (1950-1966)
Ste-Maria-Goretti, Alexandria (1955-1968)
Ste-Croix, Cornwall (1964-1968)
Today there are six members of the Sisters of the Holy Cross who continue to reside in our Diocese.
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