The Institute of the Sisters of Service of Canada

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Toronto (1923-present)

Women’s residence

As the first mission of the Sisters of Service, a house was purchased at 4 Wellesley Place for a women’s residence/hostel in April 1923. Adjacent to the Motherhouse and down the street from the Archbishop’s residence, the residence provided shelter for Catholic women arriving in the city. For the first year, the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) operated the hostel and oversaw the initial furnishing and decorating. With considerable grounds, the large house accommodated 25 residents, later expansion provided accommodation for 37 women. The Sisters assumed responsibility of the hostel in June 1924.

Social events were organized by the St. Anthony’s Club throughout the year, including Halloween masquerades and club dances, chaperoned by the Knights of Columbus and CWL volunteers. The Madonna Club was established for former residents. A strong Auxiliary Club raised funds to help maintain the house and the services. The house was closed in 1968.

Other ministries

The Sisters assisted the Redemptorists at the Catholic Settlement House, founded in response to the rapid increase of German Catholic immigrants in Toronto. Sisters Pauline Coates and Domitilla Morrison worked at the house (1932-1933), which was located next to the Redemptorists’ St Patrick’s church.

Many Sisters taught in city and area schools, including seven Sisters at Precious Blood Separate School (1939-1949) in Wexford as well as Sisters Eileen Bridgeo and Lita Camozzi in Toronto separate schools. Upon retirement from teaching, Sister Leona Trautman volunteered at St. Ann’s and St. Boniface schools. Other Sisters shared their expertise in many fields, including Sister Agnes Sheehan at the Marriage Tribunal of the Toronto archdiocese and nurses Sisters Brigid Knopic and Leona Rose at Fudger House, a senior’s residence.

Sister Adua Zampese worked as Coordinator of Basic Christian Communities (1987-1993) and as a pastoral assistant at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Scarborough. While there, she worked with families in sacramental preparation, the RCIA group and Renew. Sister Hilda Lunney assists at St. Paul’s Basilica.

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