By Veronica Stienburg, Archivist for the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul
The Sisters of Providence in Montreal were founded by Emilie Gamelin in 1843. In 1861 four Sisters of Providence began a new congregation in Kingston, now known as the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. In 1873, the Kingston Sisters founded a mission in Holyoke, MA. This mission became a separate congregation in 1892, known as the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke. Three separate congregations with shared roots.
In September, Phyllis Ladd, the archivist for Holyoke, MA, came to Kingston for two days to visit our archives and see the city. It was a pleasure to spend time with her in the archives talking about the shared history and showing her historic records concerning Holyoke, and some of the oldest records in the archives. Sister Pauline Lally, Sister Catherine Cannon, and Sister Ellen Murray spent a morning with Phyllis showing her the Foundation House at Providence Manor and talking about the early history of the congregation with her.
After soaking up the history in Kingston, Phyllis and I drove to Montreal to visit the Sisters of Providence archives. Archivist Marie-Claude Béland organized a wonderful visit for us. We visited the Place Emilie Gamelin and some of the historic sites and the next day we had a wonderful tour of the archives, visited the archives of the Cause for Emilie Gamelin and enjoyed the museum.
Phyllis was particularly interested in Kingston’s early documents dealing with Holyoke and I really enjoyed seeing Marie-Claude’s archival storage vaults. Most of all we enjoyed getting to know each other better, comparing archival notes and sharing our enthusiasm for the history of the Sisters of Providence.
Photo caption: Left to Right: Veronica Stienburg, Archivist of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, Kingston; Phyllis Ladd, Archivist of the Sisters of Providence Holyoke; Marie-Claude Béland, Sisters of Providence, Montreal. Photo: Nadia Bertoluci.