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Our History

History collage, Fontbonne Ministries

For over 160 years the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto have responded to the needs of the day. These responses have taken the form of offering shelter and food to those without the bare necessities of life, creating unique learning environments, providing healthcare and attending to the spiritual needs of those who come to them for help. The Sisters have ministered by establishing many organizations and institutions that were then passed on to the local communities.

Their latest response is Fontbonne Ministries, Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto.

The Sisters founded Fontbonne Ministries in 2000 to address the changing societal needs in collaboration with others. The ministries undertake to address the issues of homelessness, isolation and alienation due to health, economic and age related factors, spiritual growth and care for the environment.

Operating throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Fontbonne Ministries mirrors the Sisters’ early ministries in many ways. Named after Sister Delphine Fontbonne, each of the six ministries seeks to address one or more of today’s pressing societal needs: affordable housing, outreach for those who are isolated and alone, activities that build community in a large urban setting, opportunities to connect with others and grow spiritually and the chance to engage one’s creative side in an accepting environment. As well, each ministry endeavours to meet the specific the needs of their local communities and provide services and programs that might not otherwise be available in those neighbourhoods.

Fontbonne Ministries provides opportunities for program participants to develop life skills, to experience hospitality in a variety of ways, to be encouraged to develop spiritually, to build community connections for support.  The ministries welcome everyone without distinction.

Our Timeline

Mother Delphine FontbonneOur Roots

The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) was founded in 1648 in France by six women and a Jesuit priest. In 1851, Mother Delphine Fontbonne arrived in Toronto with three Sisters to care for the orphans of the city. This was to be the beginning of more than 150 years of service in Canada, including the founding of Fontbonne Ministries in 2000. Click here to learn more about the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.

In this 15-minute video interview, Sr. Mechtilde O'Mara discusses the history and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto:

Fontbonne Ministries offers diverse programs that are welcoming and inclusive. The charity was founded in 2000 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, a community of women who, through their compassionate presence, respond to various needs. Fontbonne Ministries continues, with the Sisters, their mission of reflecting the love of God and neighbour.

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