Founder of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa recognized for her heroic virtues, receives title Venerable

Monday, April 16, 2018

Elisabeth BruyereMother Élisabeth Bruyère (1818-1876), founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, has been recognized by the Church for her heroic virtues. The decree was recently authorized by the Holy Father during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Her cause has been under study since 1977 in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

Élisabeth Bruyère was born on 19 March 1818 in the village of L’Assomption, a few kilometers east of Montreal. Her father was a widower and already had four children at the time of his marriage to a young woman from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Three children were born from this second family, one of whom was Élisabeth, the eldest. When she was six, Élisabeth’s father died. Because of poverty the family moved to Montreal where the mother worked as a maid.

In 1839, Élisabeth entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, founded by Saint Marguerite d’Youville, and made her first profession on 31 May 1841 at the age of 23. On 16 November 1844, the Montreal community agreed to found a mission in Bytown, which later became Ottawa. On 20 February 1845, the Ottawa foundation of the Sisters of Charity was established under the responsibility of Mother Bruyère. Its mission was to serve the poor, care for the neediest, educate children, take care of the sick, and assist the destitute. Mother Bruyère died on 5 April 1876 at the age of 58. At the time of her death, the Ottawa foundation which she had directed for 31 years had 98 members.

As part of their ministry in Ottawa, the Sisters of Charity opened the province’s first bilingual school, and founded what is today the Ottawa General Hospital, the Saint Vincent Hospital, as well as the Élisabeth Bruyère Health Centre, and the Élisabeth Bruyère Regional Palliative Care Centre and rehabilitation service.

Celebrations of thanksgiving for the Church’s official recognition of the heroic virtues of Mother Bruyère will take place within the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa and the Archdiocese of Ottawa during the coming months. The formal title of those so recognized by the Church is Venerable.

Link to the joint news release of the Archdiocese and the Congregation (PDF)

Link to the biography of Venerable Mother Bruyère