Timeline

The timeline is a series of chronological references relative to the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, from the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys to the present day. It puts in perspective the events which have marked the history of the community in relation to the geo-political, social and religious events which took place in Montreal, Canada and elsewhere, particularly with regard to education and women’s rights. Thanks to this overall presentation, we are better able to observe the role of the Congregation in society as well as its ability to adapt to change.

Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Socioreligious Events

Geopolitical Events

1492

Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus) discovers America on behalf of Spain.

1
1497

Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) explores the Newfoundland coasts on behalf of Great Britain.

1
1598

The Congrégation Notre-Dame, is founded in France by Pierre Fourier and Alix Le Clerc.

Portrait of Sister Alix Le Clerc, named Mother Thérèse de Jésus

Portrait of Sister Alix Le Clerc, named Mother Thérèse de Jésus

Mattaincourt, Grand Est, France, 1600.
3
1604

The first French colony on American soil is founded on Sainte-Croix Island, in Acadia, by Pierre Du Gua de Monts with Samuel de Champlain.

1
1608

Samuel de Champlain founds Quebec, beginning French colonization in the Saint Lawrence River Valley.

1
1611

The first Jesuits arrive in Acadia on a mission of evangelization.

2
1615

The Récollets arrive in Quebec City for the purpose of converting the Amerindians to Christianity.

2
1620

Marguerite Bourgeoys is born in Troyes (France).

3
1625

The Jesuits arrive in Quebec City for the purpose of converting the Amerindians to Christianity.

2
1634

Trois-Rivières is founded.

1
1639

The Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal pour la conversion des sauvages en Nouvelle-France is established in Paris.

Seal of authorization of the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal

Seal of authorization of the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal

Montreal, New France (Quebec), [ca. 1650].
1
1639

The Ursulines and the Augustinians, the first congregations of women in New France, arrive in Quebec City.

2
1639

The first school for girls in North America is established in Quebec City by the Ursulines.

2
1639

The Hôtel-Dieu de Québec is founded by the Augustinians.

2
1640

Marguerite Bourgeoys hears God’s call during the procession in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary in Troyes (France).

3
1642

Ville-Marie (Montreal) is founded on behalf of the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve with Jeanne Mance.

1
1642

The Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal is founded by Jeanne Mance.

Portrait of Jeanne Mance

Portrait of Jeanne Mance

Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France (Quebec), 1600.
2
1643

A wooden cross is erected on the Mont-Royal by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and his men, in thanksgiving for divine protection when the swollen waters of the Saint Lawrence River threatened the settlement on Christmas Day 1642.

2
1645

A first peace treaty is negotiated between the French and the Iroquois.

1
1648

The first baby girl, Barbe Meusnier, is born in Montreal.

2
1653

Marguerite Bourgeoys meets Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve in Troyes (France).

3
1653

Marguerite Bourgeoys arrives in Ville-Marie with la grande recrue (one-hundred new settlers).

Mother Louise de Chomedey de Sainte-Marie introduces Marguerite Bourgeoys to Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve during his visit to the Congrégation Notre-Dame Convent

Mother Louise de Chomedey de Sainte-Marie introduces Marguerite Bourgeoys to Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve during his visit to the Congrégation Notre-Dame Convent

Troyes, Grand Est, France, 1652.
3
1653

Marguerite Bourgeoys, with a group of settlers, restores the wooden cross on the Mont-Royal which had been destroyed by the Iroquois.

3
1657

The Sulpicians arrive in Ville-Marie (Montreal).

2
1657

A first attempt is made to build Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel.

3
1658

Marguerite Bourgeoys establishes the first school in Ville-Marie in a former stable. It was ceded to her by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve on behalf of the “Messieurs les Associés pour la conversion des Sauvages de la Nouvelle-France” (Associates for the conversion of the savages in New France). Known as the stable-school and situated between Saint-Paul Street and the Saint Lawrence River, it is considered to be the first Mother House of the Congregation (1658-1673).

3
1658

Marguerite Bourgeoys makes her first trip back to France with Jeanne Mance. Marguerite returns to Ville-Marie with her first companions, Edmée Châtel, Marie Raisin, Anne Hiou and Catherine Crolo. Jeanne Mance returns with the first Hospital Sisters of Saint-Joseph.

3
1659

Bishop de Laval, first Bishop of Quebec, arrives in New France (1658 – 1688).

2
1662

Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve cedes Pointe-Saint-Charles to Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Notarized copy of the contract of purchase for a plot of land on the Saint-Gabriel prairie signed on August 25, 1662 by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Marguerite Bourgeoys

Notarized copy of the contract of purchase for a plot of land on the Saint-Gabriel prairie signed on August 25, 1662 by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Marguerite Bourgeoys

Pointe Saint-Charles (Montreal), New France (Quebec), 22 October 1671.
3
1663

The Société Notre-Dame de Montréal is disbanded and seigniorial rights to the Island of Montreal are transferred to the Séminaire Saint-Sulpice de Paris.

1
1663

The first Filles du Roy (King’s Wards) arrive in New France (1663-1673).

2
1665

Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve returns to France but remains governor of Montreal until 1669.

Portrait of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve

Portrait of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve

Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France (Quebec), 1600.
1
1667

The citizens of Ville-Marie support Marguerite Bourgeoys in her attempt to obtain Letters Patent for the Congregation.

3
1669

Bishop de Laval gives the Congregation permission to teach everywhere in his diocese which, at that time, comprises all of New France.

3
1670

The Hudson’s Bay Company is founded by Charles II, King of England.

1
1670

Marguerite Bourgeoys makes her second trip back to France (1670-1672).

3
1671

The Institut des Filles séculières de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame obtains civil recognition in the form of Letters Patent granted by Louis XIV.

First page of Letters patent

First page of Letters patent

Dunkerque, Haut-de-France, France, 20 June 1671.
3
1673

Second Mother House (1673–1683), known as the “large stone house”.

3
1676

Bishop de Laval issues canonical approbation of the Institut des Filles séculières de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame.

3
1676

Teaching of young Amerindians begins at the Mountain Mission, established in 1675 by the Sulpicians and the Sisters of the Congregation.

3
1678

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is inaugurated after three years of construction.

Construction of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Construction of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France (Quebec), 1675.
3
1679

Marguerite Bourgeoys makes her third trip back to France (1679-1680).

3
1681

Marie-Thérèse Gannensagouas, first Sister of the Congregation of Amerindian origin, makes her private vows.

3
1682

The Séminaire Saint-Sulpice is founded in Montreal.

2
1683

The Mother House is destroyed by fire and Marguerite Sommillard and Geneviève du Rosoy perish in the blaze.

3
1684

Marie Barbier (soeur de l’Assomption), first Sister of the Congregation born in Montreal, makes her private vows.

3
1684

The third Mother House of the Congregation is established on Notre-Dame Street and is known as la maison sur le haut (1684–1844).

Third Mother House

Third Mother House

Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France (Quebec), [17-].
3
1687

A wooden palisade is erected to protect the town of Montreal.

1
1688

Bishop de Saint-Vallier begins his mandate as the second Bishop of Quebec (1688–1727).

2
1690

Admiral Phips' fleet fails to capture Québec City.

1
1693

Marie Barbier is elected second Superior of the Congregation.

3
1695

Jeanne Le Ber goes into seclusion in an apartment in close proximity to the sanctuary in the chapel of the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, which she financed.

Agreement between Jeanne Le Ber and the Sisters of the Congrégation to build a chapel with an apartment where she could live her life as a recluse

Agreement between Jeanne Le Ber and the Sisters of the Congrégation to build a chapel with an apartment where she could live her life as a recluse

Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France (Quebec), 4 August 1695.
3
1695

Lydia Longley (soeur Sainte-Madeleine), first English-speaking Sister of the Congregation from the colonies that would later become the United States, makes her private vows.

3
1697

Marguerite Bourgeoys writes her memoirs.

3
1698

The Sisters accept the rules written by Bishop de Saint-Vallier and the first religious professions take place in Ville-Marie (Montreal) and in Quebec.

Profession of vows by the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Profession of vows by the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Ville-Marie (Montreal), New France (Quebec), 25 June 1698.
3
1700

Marguerite Bourgeoys dies in Ville-Marie.

3
1701

The Great Peace Treaty of Montreal was signed by Sieur de Callière of France and representatives of thirty-nine Amerindian nations.

1
1702

The War of Spanish Succession begins (1702-1714).

1
1711

The invading British fleet under the command of Admiral Walker is shipwrecked in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

1
1713

The Treaty of Utrecht is signed bringing to an end the War of Spanish Succession. France cedes to Great Britain her claims to Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, and Acadia.

1
1719

The construction of the fortress of Louisbourg (Cape Breton Island) begins.

1
1727

A school of the Congregation is established in Louisbourg (Cape Breton Island, in what is known today as Nova Scotia).

3
1727

Bishop de Saint-Vallier dies.

Portrait of Jean-Baptiste de La Croix De Chevrières de Saint-Vallier

Portrait of Jean-Baptiste de La Croix De Chevrières de Saint-Vallier

Quebec, New France (Quebec), 1685.
2
1745

First siege of Louisbourg: The Sisters, students and their families are deported to France.

3
1747

Bishop de Pontbriant restricts membership in the Congregation to eighty.

Portrait of Henri-Marie du Breil de Pontbriand

Portrait of Henri-Marie du Breil de Pontbriand

Quebec, New France (Quebec), 1700.
3
1748

Louisbourg is returned to French control.

1
1749

Surviving Sisters of the Congregation return to Louisbourg, where they find their houses destroyed.

3
1754

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is destroyed by fire.

3
1754

The Seven Years War begins (1754–1760).

1
1755

The British deport over 8,000 Acadians to France and throughout the Americas.

1
1758

Second siege of Louisbourg: The Sisters, students and their families are deported to France.

3
1759

Quebec is captured by the British following the Battle of the Plaines d’Abraham.

1
1760

The British take possession of Montreal.

1
1763

The Treaty of Paris is signed ending the Seven Years War. France cedes most of its North American possessions to Great Britain.

1
1763

The British Royal Proclamation of 1763 renames New France the “Province of Quebec.”

1
1764

Seigniorial rights to the Island of Montreal are ceded by the Séminaire Saint-Sulpice de Paris to the Séminaire Saint-Sulpice de Montréal.

2
1764

The first newspaper, La Gazette de Québec, is published in Quebec City.

2
1768

The Mother House of the Congregation is destroyed by fire. It is rebuilt in 1769 and continues to be used until 1844.

3
1769

The Congregation purchases the last piece of property on Île Saint-Paul (today Nun’s Island) and becomes its sole owner.

3
1769

Saint John's Island (renamed Prince Edward Island in 1799) was granted colonial status independent of Nova Scotia.

1
1771

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel is rebuilt (1771-1773).

3
1774

The British Parliament passes the Quebec Act that allowed Quebec to maintain the French language, the French Civil Code as its judicial system and sanctioned the freedom of religious choice, allowing the Roman Catholic Church to remain.

1
1775

The War of Independence begins (1775–1783).

1
1775

Montreal surrenders to the Americans under the command of General Richard Montgomery. The Americans unsuccessfully attempt to capture Quebec.

1
1776

The American Declaration of Independence is signed.

1
1783

The Treaty of Paris is signed, formally ending the American Revolutionary War and granting independence to the United States. (Please note: this “treaty of Paris” is not to be mistaken for the 1763 Treaty of the same name).

1
1783

The North West Company of Montreal is officially created.

1
1784

Britain splits the colony of Nova Scotia into three separate colonies: New Brunswick, Cape Breton Island, and present-day peninsular Nova Scotia.

1
1791

The Constitutional Act splits the province of Quebec into Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec). It grants all landowners, regardless of gender, voting rights to elect representatives to the Legislative Assembly.

1
1801

Lower Canada (Quebec) passes the first Schools Act, known as Royal Institution, in order to create the establishment of an entirely state-subsidized system.

2
1812

The War of 1812 begins between the United States and Canada (1812–1815).

1
1821

The Diocese of Montreal is established as autonomous with respect to the one in Quebec City.

2
1824

The second Schools Act, known as The Parish Schools Act, which allows the creation of parish schools, is passed.

2
1829

The third Schools Act, known as The Trustees Schools Act, which allows the creation of schools subsidized by the Legislative Assembly and managed by trustees elected by resident landholders, is passed.

2
1833

The Charter of incorporation for the city of Montreal is established and the first elections are held. Jacques Viger is elected first mayor of Montreal.

1
1833

Slavery is abolished in Lower Canada.

2
1836

The Diocese of Montreal is canonically erected by Pope Gregory XVI.

2
1837

Rebellions by the patriots in Lower Canada and by the reformists in Upper Canada take place (1837–1838).

2
1840

The Act of Union combines Lower Canada and Upper Canada.

1
1841

The first English-language school of the Congregation is founded in Kingston (in what is known today as Ontario).

En route to found a mission

En route to found a mission

Kingston, Upper Canada (Ontario), 1841.
3
1841

The fourth Schools Act, which creates the basis for a denominational schools system, is passed.

2
1843

Bishop Bourget lifts the membership restriction.

3
1844

The fourth Mother House of the Congregation is established on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street (1844-1880).

Fourth Mother House

Fourth Mother House

Montreal, Canada East (Quebec), 1874.
3
1845

The fifth Schools Act, which establishes self-governing school boards, is passed. In Montreal and Quebec, Catholic and Protestant school boards are created.

2
1849

The Rebellion Losses Bill is enacted to compensate Lower Canadians who lost property during the Rebellions of 1837–1838.

1
1849

The municipal right to vote of women landowners is withdrawn.

2
1854

The seigniorial system is abolished.

1
1857

Ottawa is designated as the capital of Canada.

1
1857

The first normal schools, or teacher training institutions, are established: two French-language and Catholic, the École normale Jacques-Cartier de Montréal and the École normale de Laval in Quebec, for girls; one English-language and Protestant, the MacDonald Normal School, affiliated to McGill University, which is mixed.

Exterior view - École normale Jacques-Cartier, section féminine / École normale Notre-Dame

Exterior view - École normale Jacques-Cartier, section féminine / École normale Notre-Dame

Montreal, Quebec, [19-].
2
1859

The Council of Public Instruction is established to administer Quebec’s public school system.

2
1860

The first mission of the Congregation in the United States (Bourbonnais, Illinois) is established.

3
1867

The British North America Act establishes the Dominion of Canada formed by the confederation of the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

1
1869

Quebec’s first Ministry of Public Instruction is established.

2
1869

The Indian Act is passed by the Federal Government.

2
1870

Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and Rupert’s Land join Confederation.

1
1870

The Compulsory School Attendance Act is passed in Ontario.

2
1871

British Columbia joins Confederation.

1
1873

Prince Edward Island joins Confederation.

1
1880

The fifth Mother House of the Congregation, known as the “Mother House on the Mountain” is established (1880-1893).

Fifth Mother House

Fifth Mother House

Montreal, Quebec, [188-].
3
1882

Unmarried women landowners obtain the right to vote in municipal elections in Ontario.

2
1885

Following the Métis rebellion in western Canada, Louis Riel is tried and hung in Regina.

1
1888

The first undergraduate degrees from the Faculty of Arts and from the Normal School are granted to women by Montreal’s English-language McGill University.

2
1889

Women who have attained their majority and widowed landowners obtain the right to vote in federal elections.

2
1892

Widows and single women who have attained majority obtain the right to vote in municipal elections in Quebec.

2
1893

The Mother House is destroyed by fire. The Sisters return to the Mother House on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street (1893-1908).

3
1893

The Congrégation de Notre-Dame participates in the Pan-American Exposition in Chicago.

3
1897

The first undergraduate diplomas are granted by Mount Saint Bernard College, the first post-secondary institution for women in North America. The college was established by the Congregation in Antigonish, Nova Scotia in 1883.

First women to graduate from Mount Saint Bernard College in the Bachelor of Arts program

First women to graduate from Mount Saint Bernard College in the Bachelor of Arts program

Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 1897.
3
1899

The women’s branch of the École normale Jacques-Cartier de Montréal opens under the jurisdiction of the Congregation.

3
1900

The Paris World’s Fair is held.

Frontispiece and extracts from a book on cartography published by the Congrégation de Notre-Dame presented at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris

Frontispiece and extracts from a book on cartography published by the Congrégation de Notre-Dame presented at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris

Montreal, Quebec, [ca. 1900].
2
1905

The Federal Government splits the Northwest Territories to create the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

1
1907

The Congregation’s first commercial class opens in Pointe Saint-Charles.

3
1908

The Congregation’s sixth Mother House is established at 3040 Sherbrooke Street (1908-1985).

Sixth Mother House

Sixth Mother House

Montreal, Quebec, [between 1908 and 1966].
3
1908

The first collège classique for women in Quebec, the École d’enseignement supérieur pour jeunes filles, opens in the Mother House under the jurisdiction of the Congregation. In 1926 it becomes Collège Marguerite-Bourgeoys.

3
1911

Marie Gérin-Lajoie, first graduate of the École d’enseignement supérieur pour jeunes filles, obtains first place at the Baccalauareat exams.

3
1911

Marie Gérin-Lajoie becomes the first woman to receive a BA degree from a French University.

Portrait of Marie Gérin-Lajoie taken from the commemorative photographs of École d’enseignement secondaire pour jeunes filles

Portrait of Marie Gérin-Lajoie taken from the commemorative photographs of École d’enseignement secondaire pour jeunes filles

Montreal, Quebec, [ca. 1920].
2
1914

World War I begins (1914–1918).

1
1917

Women with family ties to a person in the military obtain the right to vote in federal elections. Women obtain the right to vote in provincial elections in Ontario and British Columbia.

2
1918

All women obtain the right to vote in federal elections.

2
1922

The Lettres et sciences programme, a stepping stone to university education, is established in many schools of the Congregation in Quebec.

3
1928

A new programme of studies leading to a Baccalaureate in Household Economy is offered by the Congregation at Mount Saint Bernard College in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

3
1932

The first mission of the Congregation in Japan (Fukushima) is established.

Foundress of the mission in Japan

Foundress of the mission in Japan

[Montreal (Quebec)]?, 1932.
3
1932

Married women whose marriage does not have a community property clause, who are landowners or who hold a lease in Montreal obtain the right to vote to municipal elections.

2
1939

World War II begins (1939–1945).

1
1940

All women obtain the right to vote in Quebec (Provincial level).

2
1941

The war in the Pacific (1941-1945) begins: Canadian Sisters living in Japan are kept as prisoners.

3
1941

Women in Quebec who pay the poll tax obtain the right to vote in municipal elections.

2
1949

Newfoundland joins Confederation.

1
1950

Marguerite Bourgeoys is beatified by Pope Pius XII.

Beatification ceremony of Marguerite Bourgeoys at Saint Peter’s Basilica

Beatification ceremony of Marguerite Bourgeoys at Saint Peter’s Basilica

Rome, Italy, 11 November 1950.
3
1960

Aboriginal peoples obtain the right to vote in federal elections.

2
1960

The Royal Commission on Education, known as the Parent Commission, whose mandate is to completely reform the school system in Quebec, is established.

2
1962

The first mission of the Congregation in Latin America (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) is established.

3
1963

The reports stemming from the Royal Commission on Education are issued (1963-1966).

2
1964

The first mission of the Congregation in Guatemala is established.

3
1964

The Ministry of Education of Quebec is established.

2
1965

The first mission of the Congregation in Chile (1965-1973) is established.

3
1965

The second Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church held at the Vatican, known as Vatican II, ends. It focused on opening the Catholic Church to the modern world.

2
1966

Saint-Gabriel Museum in Pointe Saint-Charles de Montréal is inaugurated

Maison Saint-Gabriel

Maison Saint-Gabriel

Pointe Saint-Charles (Montreal), New France (Quebec), [195-].
3
1967

The Montreal World’s Fair is held.

2
1967

C.E.G.E.Ps (Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel) are created in Quebec.

2
1968

The normal schools and domestic science schools are closed.

2
1968

Comprehensive schools are established.

2
1969

Aboriginal peoples obtain the right to vote in provincial elections.

2
1970

The first mission of the Congregation in Africa (Cameroon) is established.

3
1975

The Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms is adopted.

2
1980

The CND Associate Relationship, a group of lay persons committed to living the mission and charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys, is founded.

3
1981

The Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame settle in Troyes, France.

3
1982

Marguerite Bourgeoys is canonized by Pope John Paul II. She is the first saint of the Canadian Church.

Solemn Mass at the Montreal Forum to celebrate the Canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys

Solemn Mass at the Montreal Forum to celebrate the Canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys

Montreal, Quebec, 25 November 1982.
3
1985

The seventh Mother House of the Congregation is established on Westmount Avenue (1985-2005).

Seventh Mother House

Seventh Mother House

Montreal, Quebec, [195-].
3
1988

The first mission of the Congregation in El Salvador is established.

3
1997

School boards according to language replace denominational ones.

2
1998

Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum opens in the historic district of Old Montreal.

3
2005

The eighth Mother House of the Congregation is established at 2330 Sherbrooke Street West.

Eighth Mother House

Eighth Mother House

Montreal, Quebec, [after 2005].
3