Series F01-S113 - Education, London, ON series

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Education, London, ON series

General material designation

  • Multiple media

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title is based on the contents of the series.

Level of description


Reference code

CA ON00279 F01-S113

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1858 [photocopied 19-?], 1909-2004 (Creation)
    Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada (London, Ont.)

Physical description area

Physical description

32 cm of textual records
33 photographs : b&w
1 photograph : b&w negative
1 photograph : col.
1 pin

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of London, in Ontario was first incorporated on February 15, 1891 under chapter 92 of the Statutes of Ontario, 1870-1. London, Ontario is on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Attawandaron Peoples.

On December 11, 1868, at the request of Bishop John Walsh, five Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto arrived in London, Ontario. Mother Teresa Brennan, Sister Ignatia Campbell, Sister Ursula McGuire, Sister Francis O’Malley and Sister Appolonia Nolan were accompanied by Reverend Mother Antoinette McDonald and were welcomed by Bishop Walsh, Rev. J.M. Bruyere, V.G., and Rev. P. Egan, pastor of St. Peter’s Church. Awaiting the Sisters were sleighs that transported them from the train station to a temporary home at 170 Kent Street.

In accordance with their mission in London, three Sisters began teaching at St. Peter’s School in January, 1869. After classes, they visited the sick, the poor and the imprisoned. They were also mandated to open an orphanage in the future. In order to accomplish these tasks, more Sisters and larger facilities were necessary.

On October 2, 1869, the Barker House at the corner of Richmond and College Street in North London was purchased and the Sisters moved there from Kent Street. The building was named Mount Hope, and it became the first Motherhouse of the Sisters, eventually housing the elderly, orphans, Sisters and novices.

On December 18, 1870, the Sisters of St. Joseph became an autonomous congregation in the London diocese, independent of the Toronto congregation. Sister Ignatia Campbell was appointed Superior General, an office she held until 1902. On February 15, 1871, the congregation became legally incorporated.

On October 7, 1877, an addition was made to Mount Hope. This building stood until it was demolished on August 3, 1980, surrounded by the growing healthcare institutions founded by the Sisters, beginning with St. Joseph’s Hospital which opened at 268 Grosvenor Street on October 15, 1888, and followed by the opening of St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1895, and the construction of a new nursing school building in 1927, which saw its last graduation in 1977. On May 1, 1951, St. Mary’s Hospital was opened, followed by Marian Villa on January 12, 1966. In 1985, the hospital complex was renamed St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and ownership was transferred in 1993 to St. Joseph’s Health Care Society.

But it was not only in London that Sisters saw the need for healthcare and nursing education. On October 15, 1890, they opened St. Joseph’s Hospital on Centre Street in Chatham, Ontario, which remained under their control until 1993. In 1895, they opened St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing, which saw its last graduation in 1970. On October 18, 1946, they opened St. Jospeh’s Hospital at 290 North Russell Street in Sarnia which remained under their control until 1993. In Alberta, they administered St. Joseph’s Hospital in Stettler (1926), St. Joseph’s Hospital in Galahad (1927), the General Hospital in Killam (1930), and St. Paul’s Hospital in Rimbey (1932).

On April 10, 1899, the Sisters opened Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, Novitiate and Orphanage at the former Hellmuth College at 1486 Richmond Street North in London. The orphans were moved to this new location from Mount Hope, which remained a home for the elderly and was renamed House of Providence on June 3, 1899. The orphanage remained at Mount St. Joseph until it was moved to Fontbonne Hall in 1953 (to 1967). The original Hellmuth College building was demolished in 1976.

Later, on September 14, 1914, the Motherhouse and Novitiate moved to Sacred Heart Convent at Colborne and Dundas Streets in London, with the orphans remaining at Mount St. Joseph. The Sisters lived at Sacred Heart Convent until 1953, when they moved back to the newly built Mount St. Joseph, on the original location of the former Hellmuth College. The new Motherhouse and Novitiate was officially opened on June 29, 1954. It was here that they continued a private girls’ school which had begun in 1950 at Sacred Heart Convent, and was now known as Mount St. Joseph Academy (to 1985). It was here too that they continued a music school which had also begun at Sacred Heart Convent and was now called St. Joseph’s School of Music (to 1982). The Médaille Retreat Centre began here in 1992, and the Sisters also administered a Guest Wing for relatives of hospitalized patients (to 2005). The Sisters departed Mount St. Joseph for their new residence, a green building at 485 Windermere Road in London, in 2007.

On September 4, 1873, St. Joseph’s Convent opened at 131 North Street in Goderich, Ontario, followed by other convents in Ontario, including Ingersoll (1879), St. Thomas (1879), Belle River (1889), Windsor (1894), Sarnia (1906), Kingsbridge (1911), Seaforth (1913), St. Mary’s (1913), Woodstock (1913), Kinkora (1916), Paincourt (1923), Maidstone (1930), Leamington (1932), Delhi (1938), Tillsonburg (1938), Simcoe (1938), Langton (1939), West Lorne (1957), and Zurich (1963)

The Sisters also opened missions in other parts of Canada, including in Alberta: Edmonton (1922), Wetaskiwin (1929), St. Bride’s (1934); and in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Yellowknife (1953), and in British Columbia in Haney, now Maple Ridge (1956), and Rutland (1970). Branching even further afield, Convento San Jose was opened in Chiclayo, Peru in 1962.

Over the years, as well as their service as teachers in the separate school system, as music teachers, as healthcare workers, as nursing educators, in providing care to orphans, and in providing parish ministry, pastoral care, and administering spiritual retreats, the Sisters were also involved in social service ministry. In Windsor, they opened the Roy J. Bondy Centre on September 13, 1970 which was a receiving home for the Children’s Aid Society, withdrawing in 1982 but continuing to provide residential care for disabled children afterward. In London, they opened Internos, a residence for teenage girls attending school and later for troubled teens (to 1979). This was followed by the opening of St. Joseph’s Detoxification Centre on September 13, 1973 (to 2005) and St. Stephen’s House, an alcoholic recovery centre on February 1, 1982 (to 2000). Loughlin House in London opened as a residence for ex-psychiatric female patients in 1986 (to 1989), followed by the Home for Women in Need at 534 Queens Avenue in 1979 (to 2004). Later, St. Josephs’ House for Refugees was opened in 1987 (to 2005), followed by St. Joseph’s Hospitality Centre, a food security program, on February 2, 1983.

On November 22, 2012, the congregation amalgamated with those in Hamilton, Peterborough, and Pembroke into one charitable corporation under the name Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Act, a Private Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which received Royal Assent on June 13, 2013.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series contains records concerning the involvement of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the London diocese with the field of education in London, Ontario. This includes the Sisters’ time as students, teachers, principals, and administrators. The educational institutes are Catholic elementary schools and high schools, choir schools, the London Roman Catholic Separate School Board, post-secondary schools, and the Divine Word (the International Centre of Religious Education operated by the London diocese). One of the post-secondary institutions, London Teachers College, was originally named London Normal School. The material in this series consists of correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, news clippings, newsletters, board minutes, histories, yearbooks, and manuals. The correspondence is primarily concerned with administrative matters, the employment of Sisters, and arranging events. Notable topics within these records include teaching practices, anniversary events, Canada’s centennial, and G. Campbell Trowsdale’s study “An Alternative Elementary School in the Performing Arts: The St. Mary’s Choir and Orchestra Program.”

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

These records were accumulated by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London.


Order was imposed by the archivist.

Language of material

    Script of material

      Location of originals

      The records are located at the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Archives. An item from F01-S113-06-02 has been separated for preservation.

      Availability of other formats

      Restrictions on access

      Files F01-S113-02-01 and F01-S113-06-02 contain sensitive material which is restricted.
      The Archives reserves the right to restrict access to the collection depending on the condition of the archival material, the amount of material requested, and the purpose of the research. The use of certain materials may also be restricted for reasons of privacy or sensitivity, or under a donor agreement. Access restrictions will be applied equally to all researchers and reviewed periodically. No researcher will be given access to any materials that contain a personal information bank such as donor agreements or personnel records, or to other proprietary information such as appraisals, insurance valuations, or condition reports.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Permission to study archival records does not extend to publication or display rights. The researcher must request this permission in writing from the Archives.

      Finding aids

      Series and file list available.

      Generated finding aid

      Associated materials

      Related materials


      No further accruals are expected.

      General note

      The Diocese of London was inaugurated in 1856, and under its second Bishop, John Walsh, comprised the counties of Middlesex, Huron, Perth, Oxford, Norfolk, Elgin, Lambton, Kent, and Essex. The Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in London, December 11, 1868, and lived in a building on Kent Street. Three weeks later, on January 3, 1869, they began to teach at St. Peter’s school. Sister Ignatia Campbell taught the junior girls; Sister Ursula McGuire the senior girls; Sister Francis O'Malley the junior boys; and Mr. John Brennan the senior boys. The congregation was formally established on December 13, 1868, with Sister Ignatia Campbell as the first General Superior. Their second convent, Mount Hope, opened on October 2, 1869, which also served as a home for the elderly and as an orphanage. The Sisters also ran a school for the orphans, with fully qualified teachers.

      In 1899, the orphanage was moved to the former Hellmuth College which also served as a Sisters’ residence. The official opening of the new convent and orphanage, christened Mount St. Joseph, took place on April 29, 1900. Mount Hope, the original convent for the Sisters, remained a home for the elderly and was renamed House of Providence. In 1914, the Sisters purchased Sacred Heart Convent, which served both as a residence, and housed a commercial school. The first six students from Sacred Heart Commercial High School attended their graduation ceremonies at St. Peter’s Hall Auditorium in October 1938. The Sisters who lived at the convent started teaching music, establishing the Sacred Heart School of Music, later the St. Joseph School of Music, and even an orchestra called the Sacred Heart Concert Orchestra. In 1950, the convent saw the advent of a boarding school for girls.

      In 1953, the children at Mount St. Joseph Orphanage were moved to Fontbonne Hall prior to the formal opening of the newly built Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse on June 20, 1954. The private girls’ school which had started at Sacred Heart Convent was moved to the old Mount St. Joseph Orphanage building, and later, on June 11, 1959, Bishop Cody blessed a new five-story wing for the girls’ school, now known as Mount St. Joseph Academy, which had room to accommodate 300 pupils, including boarders. The Academy remained in existence until 1985, having taught between 2,000-3,000 students over 32 years. In September 1982, the St. Joseph School of Music was amalgamated with the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music on the University of Western Ontario campus. The Sisters continued to reside at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse until 2007, when they moved to a new residence at 485 Windermere Road.

      Other Catholic schools followed: St. Mary’s school in 1874, Holy Angel’s school in 1892 (which was later renamed and replaced St. Mary’s school), St. John’s school, St. Nicholas school in 1892, St. Michael’s school in 1913, and Sacred Heart school which had commercial and elementary classes in 1914. Beginning with one primary school in 1868, by 1934, the Sisters taught in 34 schools in London – both primary and secondary.

      In the early days, Sisters were not personally paid to teach, but their religious community received $500 per teacher from the Catholic board of education.

      In 1921, St. Joseph’s school opened, followed by St. Patrick’s school in 1927. These were followed by more Catholic schools in the 1940s, including Holy Cross school, Holy Rosary school, and Blessed Sacrament school. A notable school opening took place in September 1950, when Catholic Central High School opened in Sacred Heart Convent. This was followed in 1952, by the opening of Catholic Central school with grades 9-10.

      In the 1950s-1960s, the Sisters also taught at St. Joseph’s school in London, at Our Lady of Lourdes school in Delaware, at St. George’s school in Byron, and at St. Dominic’s school in Lambeth.

      In 1954, Sister Marie Brebeuf served as music supervisor for the separate schools, and selected students to form a band under the direction of Martin Boundy, which became the Catholic Central Band. The Catholic Central Band won awards in Toronto at the CNE 1957; at the Woodstock Festival in 1958 and at Waterloo also in 1958. The highlights for band members were trips to the Vatican to perform in 1964 and 1971.

      Over many years, the Sisters taught in these locations in Middlesex County: Byron: 1956-1963, Delaware: 1956 to 1990, and London: 1869 to 1996.


      An item from F01-S113-06-02 has been separated for preservation.

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Standard number

      Standard number

      Access points

      Place access points

      Control area

      Description record identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules or conventions



      Level of detail


      Dates of creation, revision and deletion

      Language of description

        Script of description


          C. Bondy (ed.), The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Diocese of London: Their Contribution to the Health Field in Canada and in Peru. Their Contribution to the Education Field in Canada and Other Parts Of The World, unpublished manuscript. (Researchers: E. Bardawill, C. Bondy, M . L. Kirwin, C. Kuefler.)

          Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Archives, The Sisters of St. Joseph: London Historical Sites, London, 2014.

          Accession area