The Grey Nuns

The Grey Nuns are a Canadian order of  Catholic sisters founded in 1738 in Montreal. The St. Boniface Museum tells the story of the Grey Nuns in Manitoba and is located in their former convent. It was built in 1847 and is the oldest building in Winnipeg. 

This statue on the Tache Promenade in Winnipeg pays tribute to the Grey Nuns. It was created by Madeline Vrignon

Four sisters from the Order of the Grey Nuns in Montreal came to the Red River Settlement in Manitoba in 1844. They travelled by canoe. Their fifty-eight-day journey was a difficult one involving endless portages through the bush in almost constant rain. Snakes plagued their night time camps. 

Louis Riel statue on the grounds of the St. Boniface Museum

Once they arrived in the Red River Settlement, the Grey Nuns opened a school. Louis Riel the founder of Manitoba was one of their students and they arranged for him to study at a college in Montreal. Louis Riel’s sister Sara Riel would eventually join the Grey Nuns order. 

This statue on Tache Avenue pays tribute to the health care services begun by the Grey Nuns. It is also by Madeline Virgnon. 

 Sister Teresa McDonnell was a Grey Nun who won the hearts of the Metis community because her remedies cured many of their illnesses.   Sister Theresa founded the St. Boniface Hospital. 

The Grey Nuns provided important health care and education opportunities in the early years of the Red River Settlement. 


Filed under Canada, History, Religion, Winnipeg

3 responses to “The Grey Nuns

  1. Facinating read! Some of these monks and nuns have done increadible amounts of good in our world and it is refreshing to be reminded of their sacrifice.

    Thank you.


  2. Fran

    Loved your submission. Where did you happen to come across the habit?


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