History of the SNJM Archives

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At the very beginning of its history, the archives of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary were conserved at the General Secretariat and the General Bursar’s Office at the Motherhouse in Longueuil. In 1860, the archives were transferred to Hochelaga where a new Motherhouse was built. The archives were again transferred in 1925, when the Motherhouse moved again, this time to Outremont.

In 1984, the SNJM archives returned to their point of origin, when the General Administration decided to renovate the old convent on St. Charles Street in Longueuil to house its offices and to build a repository that meets the archival standards of preservation and security. The new archival centre was then named the SNJM Central Archives Department.

Since that time, the archives of the SNJM Quebec Provinces and the General Administration have been preserved at the Congregational House in Longueuil. In 2009, the archives of the former SNJM Ontario Province were also transferred to this location. The archives of the SNJM missions in Manitoba are kept at the St. Boniface Historical Society, while the archives of SNJM missions in the United States are maintained at the Holy Names Heritage Center, in Marylhurst, Oregon.

The archivists  

As early as 1843, Bishop Ignace Bourget, then Bishop of Montreal, taught the first sisters the importance of keeping records and of chronicling their activities. At the General Secretariat, the Congregation’s first archivists ensured the preservation of the community’s documentary heritage.

In 1972, the SNJM General Council appointed a general archivist and allowed her to study in order to become a professional archivist. With the help of an archival advisor, the new archivist created a classification framework and overall policy for the preservation of the community’s archives.

Today, a team of archivists, including three professional archivists, work in the SNJM Central Archives Department at the Congregational House in Longueuil. They see to the accession and appraisal of archival documents, to their treatment, description and preservation, and to the promotion of the congregation’s heritage.