Elementary school education

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In 1843, with the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) in the little parish school across from the church in Longueuil, the Sisters began their educational mission by addressing the pressing need for education for disadvantaged young girls.

This mission quickly took off and convents were soon opened in Longueuil, Beloeil, Saint-Timothée, Saint-Lin, Saint-Hilaire, Beauharnois, Verchères and St-Roch-de-l’Achigan in Québec. Starting in 1859, SNJM Sisters went to answer the call in Portland (Oregon), Ontario, New York State, Florida, California, Manitoba and other parts of the world.

The first classes opened by SNJM Sisters covered the seven years of elementary school.   «The greatest attention is given the pupils in all the literary attainments proper to their sex, and the relative duties of morality and politeness. The Institution aims chiefly at the forming of the young minds to piety and advancing them in knowledge to a degree suitable to the position they occupy in society. […The education program consists of]  reading, writing, grammar (french and english), arithmetic, book-keeping, an entire course of history, comprising : ancient, modern, natural and fabulous. Geography and use of the globes, the art of epistolary, ancient and modern chronology, general knowledge, music (vocal and instrumental), drawing and painting in both oil and water colours, transfering wax-work, housewifery, knitting, plain and fancy needle work, parlor ornaments …» (Longueuil Convent Syllabus, L001/B2, 2.)

The archival exhibition, Education for Young Women: Central to the SNJM Mission, offers a look at how elementary school education has been a core component of the educational work of SNJM’s.

The exhibition can be viewed at the Congregational House in Longueuil until February 7, 2020.
Free admission. Visit by appointment.