Nuns leaving France toward Ville Marie, Canada
LaRochelle, France


The Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph

Free to love and to give

This religious community was founded by a layman, a family man, Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière and Miss Marie de la Ferre in La Flèche in France on May 18th, 1636. Mothers Judith Moreau de Brésolles, Catherine Macé and Marie Maillet arrived at the Hôtel- Dieu per Jeanne Mance's request to establish the island's first religious community on October 20th, 1659. The nuns' mission was to aid the poor, the sick, the have-nots by working in diverse institutions with various vocations.
The Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Montreal accept a heroic mission on behalf of the victims of leprosy in Tracadie, New Brunswick, in 1868. This first foundation on Acadian soil would mark the beginning of a prolific period of expansion. The sisters would answer the call of the lepers in San Pablo, Peru, in 1948, initiating a long love story with the Peruvian people.

"The Holy Spirit that prompted Jérôme Le Royer to undertake the mission that was entrusted on him, still operates today".
(Constitutions, 1979).


Mother Marie Pagé, founder and superior of the lazaretto at Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Sister Marie Pagé, 18811-1893, superior and founder of the Mission at Tracadie

Founder and Mother Superior of Tracadie's mission, sister Marie Pagé was born in St. Philippe de Laprairie, not far from the village of Acadie in Haut Richelieu December 25th, 1811. She joined the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Montreal at the age of 22 on March 13th, 1834. She was quickly entrusted with these responsabilities: administrator, the newcomers' mentor and mother superior of the Montreal community.

She was elected as founding mother superior for the mission in Tracadie in 1868. A terrible disease, leprosy, was rampant at that moment in North Eastern New Brunswick. Sister Pagé first came to visit the future mission in May 1868. She was accompanied by sister Davignon.
Their presence amongst these poor unfortunate caused touching scenes of faith and trust.

Mother Pagé and five of her collegues arrived in Tracadie to commence a charitable work. She was however recalled to their headquarters 9 months later.

She returned to Chatham and goes to visit the lepers in Tracadie in 1872. The Chatham house again needed her services as a mentor for the newcomers from 1878 to 1881.

At 70 years of age, she would have the courage and the strength to become the founding mother superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of Arthabaska in 1884. She returned to her native monastery in July 1890. Her skilled direction with regards to works of charity and her great respect of others made her a knowledgeable guide wherever she did her work.

She died at the age of 81 in Montreal on January 3rd, 1893.


Sister Delphine Brault, founder of the lazaretto at Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Sister Delphine Brault, 1839-1918

Sister Delphine Brault was born in Acadie, Quebec march 20th, 1839.

She joined the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Montreal June 5th, 1856. She made her vows September 18th, 1858. She worked at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal as the administrator's assistant and was responsible for the orphans. These roles prepared her for her functions in Tracadie, New Brunswick. She arrived in Tracadie with 5 others nuns September 29th, 1868. The lazaretto became her devotion for a quarter of a century. She would be: director of the sisters, hospital director, community secretary, mentor for the newcomers and mother superior from 1878 to 1881, and again from 1902 to 1909. A notable fact from her career was her near heroic devotion to the chicken pox victims in Pokemouche and Caraquet in 1874. Sister Brault returned to Montreal in 1886. She returned to Tracadie as mother superior in 1902 and remained until 1909. She died at the age of 79 october 22nd, 1918.


Sister St Jean de Goto, founder of the lazaretto at Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Sister Amanda Viger, 1845-1906
First pharmacist

Sister Amanda Viger, known as Saint Jean de Goto, daughter of Bonaventure Viger and Eudoxie Trudel was born in Boucherville, Quebec July 26th, 1845. She bagan her noviciate with the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Montreal at only 15 years of age September 8th, 1960.
She made her vows there February 2nd, 1863. This young nun's talents were mostly noticed in the pharmacy. She arrived in Tracadie, New Brunswick with 5 founding collegues September 29th, 1868. She opened a school September 9th, 1873. Her class had 50 students already after only 15 days.

Sister Saint Jean de Goto held the office of community secretary for 18 years. She was elected mother superior of her community in 1875. A first federal grant would allow sister saint Jean to have built a 45 X 25 foot wing for the lazaretto during her 2nd mandate as mother superior and director in 1881. It would comprise of a new pharmacy, a storeroom for the lazaretto, a foodstore and the lepers' kitchen. She also had built a two-story building for the nuns that had the kitchen , refectory, a work room and four small rooms. The federal government finally decided in 1893 to construct a stone lazaretto that would be completed March 8th 1896. Sister Saint Jean was not forgetting the unfortunates and the orphans. Funds were successfully collected thanks to donations and charity sales in order to build an orphanage (opened September 2nd, 1898) and a small hospital (opened November 1st, 1898).

Sister Saint Jean was called to Arthabaska, Quebec in August, 1902 to once again fulfill the role fo mother superior for that community.
Tracadie was in a generalized state of regret when she left. She died at the age of 61 May 8th, 1906.


Lepers at the lazaretto of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Sister Eulalie Quesnel

Sister Eulalie Quesnel was born in Arthabaska in the area of Bois Francs in the province of Quebec, Canada. She joined the Religious Hospilallers of Saint Joseph at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal in 1846 and made her vows in 1848. She accompanied mother Pagé during her first visit to the lazaretto in Tracadie with Mgr. Rogers. It was at that time that the sick and the people called for the nuns naming them:"holy sisters".
Sister Quesnel was co-founder of the mission in Tracadie, New Brunswick in 1868. She would accept the office of mother superior in St. Basile, in Madaswaska, New Brunswick from 1874 to 1880. This was one year after its foundation which was still unstable, poor and in a very precarious state. She would then return to Arthabaska for a third foundation from 1884 to 1888. She would become assistant to mother Pagé. As with the other foundations, the difficulties and the trials were numerous. She lived in an exemplary fashion and leaves us with the memory of a life of faithfulness and of great love that characterized it.

She would return to Montreal November 19th, 1888. She passed away March 4th, 1903 at the age of 75. 57 years of which were spent in religious service.


Sister Clemence Bonin, 1816-1884

Sister Clémence was born near Montreal in 1836. She presented herself to Hôtel-Dieu and was admitted as a lay sister at the age of 26.

She was chosen in 1868 to go help the founding sisters in Tracadie with the establishment of the convent where she would live for 7 years.

She shared with fervour and courage the hardships, the fatigue and the hard labours that are inherent in the foundation of a new community. She would have wanted to better the fate of the lepers countless times.

She was then designated to accompany an ill sister back to their community in Montreal in February 1876. Sister Bonin felt a profound sacrifice that she believed herself unable to bear. She said that it was as if:"she was being separated from her treasure". Her treasure being her community that she called : "her dear Nazareth".

In Tracadie she was a patients' aid and was responsible of the laundry and housework for the lepers. She was also in charge of making the candles and "altar" bread.

Her health was precarious. She gave of herself for a few more years before dying July 10th, 1884.


Sister Philomène Fournier, 1840-1895

Sister Philomène , known as sister Lumina was born in Saint Anselme, Quebec, April 6th , 1840. She asked to join the monastery at the age of 19. She wished to serve as a lay sister. She made her vows June 22nd, 1862. She was chosen as one of the six founding nuns for the mission in Tracadie in 1868.

She kept as a motto this saying from Jesus:" I have come to serve, not to be served".

We read in her necrology that: "Amongst her sacrifices, one should be noted, that of leaving the community with the founders of our house in Tracadie where she shared poverty and fatigue. She made available her talents for manual work given to her by God with heroic charity.
Everywhere she was seen, she was constantly joining prayer and action".

She was a cook and worked in the laundry in Tracadie. We read in the community's Chronicles:"The kitchen and refectory floors were almost constantly covered in frost...it was so cold that sister Lumina often saw herself forced to put hot ashes in her clogs to do her work".

After spending 9 years in Tracadie, she returned to Montreal with S.M.
Reid May 28th, 1877. She died at their Montreal headquarters May 22nd, 1895.

RHSJ Chronicles


Motto of sister St Jean de Goto
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


The Chronicles reported that Sister St Jean de Goto was the spirit of the community of Tracadie and of her numerous good works.


"Everywhere in my solitude I look to find the hardships that supposedly I would encounter,, but I did not find them anywhere".