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The Grey Nuns in solidarity with today's poor

King Louis XV was the first to legally recognize the Sisters of Charity of Montreal. He signed the letters patent to this effect June 3, 1753, and entrusted the community founded by Marguerite d'Youville and her companions to the administration of the then-General Hospital of Montreal. In 1755, Bishop Henri-Marie de Pontbriand approved the new community in the name of the Church.

Since then, the Grey Nuns have been walking in the footsteps of Saint Marguerite d'Youville by loving the poor and the marginalized. The values that guide their commitments are solidarity with the poor, the promotion of justice, the defense of the sanctity of life through the promotion of human rights and the protection of the environment.


The sisters are generally involved in their milieus and act in the defense of those whose rights have not been respected. They work with youth, people with addictions, AIDS patients, the homeless, refugees and the elderly. They currently operate or work in women's shelters, centres for single women experiencing difficulties, food banks and clothing depot, seniors residences and centres for people with disabilities.


The Grey Nuns work mostly in Canada, from New Brunswick to Alberta and in the Northwest Territories. They are also present in the United States, Brazil and Colombia.

Many lay people share in the values and mission of the Grey Nuns. Whether as associates, volunteers or collaborators, they follow the example of Saint Marguerite through their commitment to people in need.

Today, five other independent religious congregations continue the mission of Saint Marguerite. They include:
  • The Sisters of Charity of Saint-Hyacinthe (1840) 
  • The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa (1845) 
  • The Sisters of Charity of Quebec (1849) 
  • Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart (1921) 
  • Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Pembroke, Ont. (1926)

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