ÉLISABETH BRUYÈRE,
FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF OTTAWA AND PIONEER SOCIAL WORKER
 
Born at L’Assomption, Quebec, on March 19, 1818, Élisabeth Bruyère entered the order of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal at the age of 21. Her superiors entrusted her with the task of starting a community in Bytown (Ottawa), where she also founded a school and a hospital. In 1856, the little community under Élisabeth Bruyère’s direction became independent from the Montreal mother house and became the the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, better known as the Grey Sisters of the Cross. Before her death on April 5, 1876, Élisabeth Bruyère had started a general hospital, a hospice, an orphanage, several schools, a boarding house and a college. Her community, so closely linked to Ottawa’s religious and civic history, continued to grow until it was active not only in Ontario but also in the USA, Africa, Brazil, Haïti, Japan and Papua-New Guinea. In 1978, a request for her canonization was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.