Soon the house became too small and the community spread to Saint-Hugues and then to Saint-Hyacinthe in 1858, where the novitiate was definitively established. In 1861, 8 years after their arrival, the Canadian family of the Presentation of Mary had 32 professed sisters, 10 novices, 6 postulants, and 12 novices and postulants (Holy Family). As for the foundations, 5 boarding schools were buzzing with life and activity. Jesus Christ was being proclaimed according to the charism of Marie Rivier.
The tree of the Presentation of Mary planted in Canada continues to grow; numerous vocations allow us to answer the many requests of parish priests who wish to have religious sisters in order to provide young girls with Christian formation and teaching. Several boarding schools were opened in the southern part of the Province of Quebec: Henryville (1862), Saint-Alexandre (1866), Coaticook (1870), and then in the United States, including Island Pond, Vermont (1886). In 1876, the Sisters moved into a brand new convent which became the Mother House; it was destroyed by fire in 1992.
As of January 1, 2021, the Province has 136 sisters who, according to their strengths, and in spite of the limits imposed by the illness, COVID in particular, continue to be involved in their task as educators, in the broadest sense of the word.
Our life Today
“To make Jesus Christ known and loved or die”. This is a cry from the heart of Marie Rivier who was never satisfied with half measures. She understood the exigencies of holiness and knew how to transmit them to her sisters.
This heritage of our origins marks our mission as educators. When we arrived at St. Mary de Monnoir, a school was waiting for us and, over the years, we continued to make Jesus Christ known and loved to the young people we taught. But with the ageing of the sisters and the scarcity of vocations, our commitment to young people was transformed.
In 2004, at the time of the International Congress for the schools of the Presentation of Mary held in Spain, we set up an Education Committee. Following an invitation from the General Council, this committee worked to develop a common definition of the educational mission of the schools of the Presentation of Mary throughout the world. It also ensured the transmission of Marie Rivier’s heritage to our schools in Quebec: College Rivier (Coaticook), College Reine-Marie (Montreal) and College Saint-Maurice (Saint-Hyacinthe). Thus, in 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2016, educators from these colleges met to revisit the values of Marie Rivier and to find ways to invite today’s youth to live them. In 2010 our gathering took on a special character when we received, from the hands of Mother Angèle Dion, Superior General, the Mission Statement for Education common to all the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary.
While the Education Committee has worked primarily with the personnel of our schools, the Marie Rivier Committee, established in 2015, meets annually with students from the three Quebec PM schools in order to introduce them to Marie Rivier. And since 2019, older students review the values inspired by Marie Rivier as part of their school curriculum.
Marie Rivier particularly loved the poor and the little ones; her daughters today are found working among these people, often ignored by society. The cities of Granby and Saint-Hyacinthe have opened places where people who are lonely, those who are bereaved, the homeless, can meet for a coffee, a game of cards, where they can find a presence or a “listening” ear (Halte Saint-Joseph). Some of our sisters are involved in this accompaniment. Others visit the elderly living in residences for seniors or immigrants at the House of the Family; some are involved in French language groups or in Urgence-Vie, an organization that offers clothing to children from single-parent families or families that have recently immigrated.