Since the opening of the first mission at Camp Morton, Manitoba in August 1924, the Sisters of Service have served missions in 55 communities across Canada and three internationally.
Initially, the missions were established to serve immigrants at the ports of Halifax, Montreal and Quebec and on the prairie homesteads.
Although teaching was an original component, the Sisters also expanded to provide health care and short-term living accommodation. For up to 65 years, young immigrant women learned of Canada in a Catholic atmosphere through the Sisters’ women's hostels/residences in the country's major cities. Later, the residences also offered young Canadian women a home base to adjust to city life or to pursue education.
From 1924 to 1998, the Sisters taught in schools in 34 smaller Canadian communities, living in sparse accommodations from small rooms at the back of the school and later in trailers. From the 1970s and 1980s, in response to the closing of the residential schools, the Sisters took teaching positions in Northern Canada, especially on Alberta reserves.
To provide health care, the Sisters owned and operated two hospitals in the central Alberta communities of Edson and Vilna. Beyond their hospitals, the Sisters also nursed in other hospitals and in the public health field.
For the Catholic faith, the institute’s religious correspondence schools were established in Edmonton, Regina, Clarenville, NL, and Fargo, ND to instruct children in their religion. Following the Second Vatican Council, the Sisters revised the catechetical teachings, were appointed to diocesan religious education offices and served in parishes as assistants, providing liturgies, religious instruction, sacramental preparation and comfort to the sick, elderly and imprisoned.
In social work, the professionally-trained Sisters worked in government agencies and publicly-funded non-profit organizations in the isolated Northern Canadian communities.