The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions: From Ultramontane Origins to a New Cosmology

The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions: From Ultramontane Origins to a New Cosmology

by Rosa Bruno-Jofre


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This book traces the journey taken by the Canadian Province of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM) from their establishment in Manitoba in 1898 until 2008, when the congregation as a whole redefined its mission and vision. Using archival research conducted in Winnipeg, Manitoba as well as in England and Italy, and incorporating oral interviews with RNDM sisters, this book explores the historical work of sisters in schools and the part they played in the educational state in formation.

The details of the congregation's activity in schools show how the sisters' educational work was related to the social characteristics of the communities (e.g., those of French Canadian settlers, British immigrants, the Métis population, and continental European immigrants), first in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and later in Ontario and Quebec. The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions examines the impact of Vatican II in the 1960s, and into the 2000s, as well as the dismantling of neo-scholasticism and the process of secularization of consciousness in society at large. The emerging issues led the congregation and the province to examine their individual and collective identity at the intersection of feminist theology, eco-spirituality, and a critique of western cosmology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487505646
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 12/13/2012
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.55(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Rosa Bruno-Jofré is professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Education, cross-appointed to the Department of History at Queen's University.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Coming to Life at the Intersection of Ultramontanism and Colonialism

Part One. Contextualizing the Vision of the Foundress

1. Who Were the RNDMs? Arrival in Canada (1898) and Transnational Ethos
2. Foundational Thoughts on Education and the Interplay of Locality, Congregational Structure, and Church Teachings

Part Two. Educational Apostolate in Time and Space: The Schools in Canada

3. Manitoba in the Early Years: Building a French-Canadian Identity with the RNDM Foundations
4. English-Speaking Communities, Immigrants, and the Quest for Social Recognition in Manitoba
5. The RNDM in Saskatchewan: Residential, Parish, Separate, and Private Schools for Girls
6. The Dusty Years to the Post-War Years
7. The Church and the Classroom before Vatican II: Spirituality in the Schools and Recruitment
8. The 1960s: Changing Context and New Experiences

Part Three. The Reception of Vatican II: Epistemic Shifts and Visionary Changes

9. The Setting That Framed the Reception of Vatican II
10. Resignifying Vision and Mission: The 1990s and 2000s, and the Movement towards Eco-Spirituality

Part Four. The Province Engages in a Foreign Mission

11. The Mission in Peru

Conclusion: Coming Full Circle

Appendix A. Making Sense of Memories: Conversation among Former Provincials — A Literal Transcription
Appendix B. Religieuses de Notre Dame des Missions (RNDM) Sisters' Houses in Canada

What People are Saying About This

Heidi E. MacDonald

"With her robust combination of theory, archival research, and oral interviews, Bruno-Jofre has made a major contribution not only to the history of women religious, but to the histories of Prairie education, Catholicism, and feminism. Her integration of the often separated areas of education, religion, immigration, and gender is a model for scholars in any of these fields."

Professor Tom O'Donoghue

"This is an excellent of the work of the Religieuses de Notre Dame des Missions (RNDM) / Our Lady of the Missions, in Canada, from 1898 until 2008. It is an outstanding contribution to the growing corpus of work on female religious around the world. All through, readers are engaged in a most engaging account of the work on the congregation. This reaches the level of fascination in the exposition on its embracement in recent years of eco-spirituality, the celebration of what it is to be a woman, and social justice."

Margaret McGuinness

"This study is a well-written account of the history of a religious congregation that deserves its recognized place in Canadian religious, education, women's, and social history. Rosa Bruno-Jofré traces the educational ministry of the community, placing the story within the larger contexts of events taking place in Canada, the world, and the Catholic Church; and the result is a fine study of how a religious community has ministered in central and western Canada since 1898."

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