Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon

Winslow, Maine

  • 20th Century

    During the great missionary movement of the 20thcentury, a request was made in 1906 by Father Joseph Forest of Jackman, Maine, for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon, France, to come to the Diocese of Portland.

      

     

  • In 1906

    With the Bishop’s approval, eight sisters made their way to Jackman where they would staff a parochial school and a girls’ boarding school.   At the time of their arrival, there were approximately 80 families in Jackman, mostly of Canadian origin.  Everyone was overjoyed with the presence of the Sisters who would assume the education of their children. 

  • In 1909

    A second group of Sisters came into Maine in 1909 – this time in South Berwick.

    The ministry was fruitful in Jackman and South Berwick.  In both places, the Sisters staffed a parochial school and an academy for high school girls where many young women were prepared academically, spiritually and socially to face the challenges of life.  It was within these institutions that religious vocations flourished.

  • In 1913

    A novitiate was established in South Berwick to prepare young women for religious life. 

  • In 1926

    The Sisters went to Holy Family parish in Lewiston, a strong Franco-American community, to teach in the parish school and help children maintain their native language.  The education apostolate expanded by staffing schools in Chisholm, Auburn, Winslow and with the opening of St. Joseph Child Care in the Lewiston-Auburn area in 1949.   The Sisters became known primarily for their education apostolate in the diocese.

  • In 1949

    The novitiate was moved to Auburn

  • In 1952

    The Sisters in Maine maintained their link with the Motherhouse in Lyon, France, through frequent correspondence with major superiors as well as the regular canonical visits from the Superior General or one of her councilors. 

    In 1952, a tremendous endeavor was the opening and staffing of a small community hospital in Jackman. 

  • In 1954

    A Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Center was opened in Dexter to provide religious education for the youth. 

  • In 1958

    Maine became a Province of the Congregation.

     

     

  • 1964 – 1965

    As vocations increased, a novitiate was built in Winslow.

  • 1966

    This was soon followed by the opening of Mount St. Joseph Nursing Home in Waterville, in 1966

  • En 1971

    This building became the Provincial House in 1969, the center of all Province activity at that time.

    In 1971, the Novitiate was moved to Sabattus St. in Lewiston. 

  • From 1972 to 1981

    We hosted Marriage Encounter and Engaged Encounter weekends.  We also had a Day Care Center for pre-schoolers.

  • In 1981-82.

    The building was used to house unwed mothers and also the Birthline phone was covered at night.

  • From 1983 to 1987

    It was living quarters for borders who were Seniors at Mt. Merici in Waterville.

     

  • From 1991 to 1993

    Sara’s Place was established as a transitional living facility for those recovering from drug use or alcohol dependency.  It was a collaborative effort with Central Maine Medical Center.

     

  • De 1994-2010

    Within the Provincial House building, an ecumenical center for prayer and spiritual development was begun, known as St. Joseph Christian Life Center.  Retreats, prayer weekends, workshops and many other collaborative efforts were offered through the years.  In 1999 the Center went through a name change; it became known as Living Water Spiritual Center.  Programs were developed to meet human, spiritual and social needs of people, thus reflecting a more inclusive mission and purpose.

  • In 2015

    The Provincial House sold in 2015.

  • Today…

    As our age and numbers have changed we have passed our former institutions on to lay collaborators and are now sharing our passion and call to service in news ways. We no longer own and run institutions. Instead we respond to the needs of our neighbours by joining with them in supporting efforts that bring about healing and unity in our broken and fractured world. We also welcome the laity to our St. Joseph Center for weekly reflections on the Sunday Gospel readings, monthly events which explore some of the issues that challenge us in living our faith today and for counseling and spiritual direction provided by some of our friends and collaborators.

     

           

              The Center hosted an evening on Ignatian Spirituality with Fr. Paul Sullivan, SJ

    Day of sharing for sisters, associates and friends.

    Sisters attended an interfaith rally for peace and non-violence

    We sponsored a community conversation about the trafficking of women and girls in Maine

    Our mission never ends but always brings us back to the ‘dear neighbour’ whether that neighbour is the single mother in the apartment down the hall, the parish or larger community effort enriched by our presence and support, or the immigrant CNA whose day is enriched by our welcoming smile as she serve us.

        

    Regardless of age or numbers, we know God still calls us to make our small contribution to God’s dream of unity for our world.

     

     

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