Documenting SNJM History

Ever since 1843, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) have paid special attention to documenting the Congregation’s history. Our archives illustrate the life and educational mission of SNJM sisters over a period spanning more than 175 years.

Our archivists are pleased to welcome various types of researchers: students, professors, genealogists, historians, former students and citizens from cities and towns where SNJMs have worked.

To consult the SNJM archives, researchers are asked to make an appointment.

Archives in the Spotlight

We invite you to discover various facets of the contribution of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to the history of education by taking periodic peeks into the contents of our archives. To do this just visit the Archives Spotlight Category in the News section, where you can easily access all archives that have been highlighted already.

SNJM Archival Exhibitions

You can also learn more about SNJM history through visiting exhibits of its religious and educational archives.

Periodically, the SNJM Central Archives Department presents a new exhibition at the Congregational House in Longueuil, Quebec.

History of the SNJM Archives

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 Mother House in Longueuil. In 1860, the archives were transferred to Hochelaga where a new Mother House was built. The archives were again transferred in 1925, when the Mother House 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.

SNJM Archival Fonds

The SNJM Central Archives Department keeps the archival fonds of the SNJM General Administration, Provincial Administrations, residences, educational institutions and other ministries of the SNJM Provinces of Quebec and Ontario. It also preserves the personal archives of the Quebec and Ontario members of the Congregation, as well as some fonds of individuals who have links with the congregation.

The SNJM archives illustrate the life of the sisters and their work from 1843 to today. The archives are organized under five groups of fonds :

FP   Private Fonds
G    General Administration
L     SNJM Missions
P     SNJM Provinces
S     Sisters

The descriptions of 78 archival funds maintained by the SNJM Central Archives Department are available on the Réseau de diffusion des archives du Québec website.

Types of Documents

SNJM archival and historical heritage includes many types of documents :

  • Approximately 450 lineal meters of textual documents;
  • More than 10,000 photographs;
  • Approximately 2,400 maps and plans;
  • A reference library of almost 1000 volumes;
  • Works of art;
  • A variety of artifacts.