BY VERONICA STIENBURG, ARCHIVIST
The Sisters of Providence taught in Lancaster Ontario from 1923 to 1937. They lived in a cement house, known as St. Joseph’s Convent. The Sisters found it very cold in winter, telling of how they had to wear cloak and gloves to Morning Prayer. There were usually five Sisters in the mission: a housekeeper, a music teacher and three teachers. The Sisters taught in St. Joseph’s School. It had outdoor facilities and like the convent, the Sisters described it as very cold in the winter. Sisters visiting from Kingston in 1924 described both the building and the children as “very, very, poor”.
The parents of the students wanted French included in the curriculum, as Lancaster is located about 20 km from the Quebec border. The Sisters did their best to teach a class of French each day. In 1937, the Sisters of Providence withdrew from Lancaster at the end of the school year when the school board decided to make St. Joseph’s a bilingual school. In the years that followed, some of the students continued to keep in touch with the Sisters and expressed regret at their leaving.