Grey Nuns

Formally known as the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, the Grey Nuns and their story began with a simple pledge taken by a young widow, Marguerite d’Youville, and three of her friends on the last day of the year 1737 in Montreal.

Her mission was to manifest to the needy, without discrimination, that tremendous charity which has its source in God, the Father. Marguerite d’Youville saw Jesus Christ in the poor and served them with humility, gentleness, and compassion, considering it an honour and a privilege to be their servant.

In 1844 the first four Grey Nuns arrived in St. Boniface, Manitoba: Sisters Valade, Lagrave, Coutlée, and Lafrance. They assisted Bishop Provencher in all the works of the young colony: teaching, bringing comfort to the poor and nursing. Shortly after their arrival at the Red River settlement, the Grey Nuns began to treat sick people. By 1847, the nuns had opened their first hospital ward in a room of their convent. In 1871, a four-bed hospital was set up at the fork of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. This building marks the humble beginnings of St. Boniface General Hospital.

The Grey Nuns continued to establish a variety of Communities of Service to meet the needs of the people in the region ranging from hospitals, to long-term, specialized, and community-based health care facilities.