MP-0000.2821 | Old Men's Refectory, Grey Nunnery, Montreal, QC, about 1890

Old Men's Refectory, Grey Nunnery, Montreal, QC, about 1890
James George Parks
1889-1894, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
7 x 14 cm
Gift of Mrs. J. B. Learmont
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Photograph (77678) , religious (1331)
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Keys to History

While bishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget strengthened the influence of the clergy by persuading a number of French religious orders to come to Canada and by promoting the growth of those already established in Montreal. Women's orders played a major role in this process, administering hospitals and being involved in social services and education.

  • What

    One of the social services provided by nuns was the lodging of the elderly in establishments called hospices. This photograph taken by James Parks shows the interior of a men's hospice run by the Grey Nuns. Meals were served in a common room called a refectory.

  • Where

    The Order of Grey Nuns (or Sisters of Charity) was founded in Montreal in the 18th century.

  • When

    In the second half of the 19th century, women's religious orders expanded significantly in Quebec, with their membership increasing tenfold.

  • Who

    The Order of Grey Nuns was founded by Marie-Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais (1701-71), widow d'Youville, better known as Marguerite d'Youville, or Mother d'Youville.