The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary is part of the dozen or so Congregations of women religious who are the topic of the exhibition "375 YEARS IN THE HEART OF IT ALL" at Maison Saint-Gabriel. Organized as part of Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations, this temporary exhibition, which will end on December 22, is a resounding success.
In addition to a brief presentation on each of the religious congregations that were approached, we find countless objects and archival documents to illustrate the diversity of the involvement of these Sisters in the life of Montreal and in Quebec society. While recalling the presence of these women of action since the foundation of the city, the exhibition has the benefit of drawing attention to the diversity of roles assumed by these religious women: teachers, nurses, architects, musicians, scientists, social workers...
The exhibition has the advantage of revealing a whole segment on the legacy of these Congregations of women religious who have founded many institutions (hospitals, schools ...) including several prestigious ones. We need only recall the Vincent-d’Indy School of Music, the Saint-Nom-de-Marie Boarding School (Outremont Convent) and Collège Durocher-Saint-Lambert founded by the SNJMs.
Consequently, Maison Saint-Gabriel's initiative provides the opportunity of discovering the diversity of past and present commitments by these women's congregations, which are less visible today, but are still actively involved in their mission.
The realization of this exhibition was based on the collaboration of the Congregations of women religious and their archives. It has benefited from the financial support of the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Culture and Communications as part of the Montreal Cultural Development Policy.
According to first estimates, Maison Saint-Gabriel has seen a 15% increase in attendance since the beginning of the year, demonstrating the interest of Montrealers and tourists in the history of Montreal, from different perspectives. While not being able to identify the main source of this increase, we cannot deny the influence of the City’s anniversary year and the organization of an unprecedented exhibition.