Who are the Sisters of St. Joseph?

Faith Connections is a ministry of The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto — women of action responding to the call to help others. They strive to be in union with God and their neighbour.

The love of Christ gathers us together to live in communion with all. As a community of women we are sent to serve those in need in simplicity and compassion.
~ Mission Statement, Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.

Le Puy

Lepuy France The Sisters of St. Joseph had their origins in Le Puy France in 1650. Here a group of women lived the Gospel by clothing the poor, feeding the hungry, visiting prisoners. They often met with Jean Pierre Médaille, a Jesuit priest, to pray and to talk about some of the needs that they saw around them. This group of women, with the guidance of Jean Pierre Médaille, soon became established as a religious community called the Sisters of St. Joseph.

French Revolution and Refounding

Sister St. John Fontbonne During the French Revolution, 1789-1794, people fought against the government, the church, the priests and the religious. Many people were imprisoned and guillotined including four Sisters of St. Joseph. One of the sisters, Sister St. John Fontbonne, who was imprisoned and scheduled to be killed, was saved as the French Revolution came to an end. She was to be instrumental in refounding the Sisters of St. Joseph in Lyons, France in 1807


In 1836 six Sisters of St. Joseph were sent to America in response to the request of the Bishop of St. Louis, Missouri, for a group of women to care for the deaf. Before long they were asked to send Sisters to Canada.


Sisters of St. Jpseph in Toronto On October 7, 1851, four Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Toronto to take responsibility for an orphanage. Over the next few years God continued to call the Sisters to respond to the needs of the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the homeless and the immigrants. The Sisters opened a home for the care of the elderly and the poor (known today as Providence Healthcare) and hospitals to care for the sick (St. Michael’s Hosptial and St. Joseph’s Health Care). They also established schools including St. Joseph’s College School and St. Joseph's Morrow Park.

Fontbonne Ministries

In 2000, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto established Fontbonne Ministries to address current social needs. Named after Sister Delphine Fontbonne, one of the four Sisters who came to Toronto in 1851, the ministries continue the Sisters’ tradition of nurturing community and assisting with the food, shelter, education and health care needs of their neighbours. Faith Connections was founded by the Sisters in 2005, and became a part of their Fontbonne Ministries in 2010.

Sr. Mechtilde O'Mara on the History and Charism of the Sisters


You can read more about the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph on their website.