An Influential Female Religious Congregation in French Ontario Takes its Place at the Vanier Museopark

Published on 24.10.2023

OTTAWA, October 24, 2023 – The Vanier Museopark will be inaugurating its very first temporary exhibit since reopening to the public last July. Starting on Friday, October 27, 2023, visitors will be able to discover “Mother Marie Thomas d’Aquin and the Sisters of the Jeanne d’Arc Institute: A Congregation of Forward-thinking Women.” Teachers, nurses, social workers… Women’s religious congregations were instrumental in shaping French Canadian society, whether it be by helping the less fortunate, caring for the sick or educating numerous generations. True precursors of a certain feminism, they often offered one of the only formative frameworks for young women who aspired to a career rather than the traditional path of housewives.

This exhibit explores the work of one of these congregations, the Sisters of the Jeanne d’Arc Institute, and of its founder, Mother Marie Thomas d’Aquin. Here, you will discover remarkable women practising several occupations, unfailingly devoted to welcoming and being open to others.

“As we celebrate our 104th year of existence this year, we wanted to highlight our lasting legacy to the people of French Ontario and to Canadians,” says Sister Yvette Papillon, Superior General of the Sisters of the Jeanne d’Arc Institute. “The Museopark has succeeded in making this dream a reality by developing this exhibit, which wonderfully reflects the charism of welcome of the Sisters of the Jeanne d’Arc Institute and the remarkable women behind it.”

“We welcome the opportunity to showcase the exceptional heritage of Mother Marie Thomas d’Aquin and the Sisters of the Joan of Arc Institute,” says Madeleine Meilleur, Executive Director of the Vanier Museopark. “These women were very determined and had a feminist, forward-looking vision. The time and effort they devoted to their community through their varied occupations contributed enormously to the advancement of the status of women in French Ontario.”

The exhibit will run until fall 2024 at the Vanier Museopark. To find out more about opening hours, entrance fees, and how to become a member of the Vanier Museopark to take advantage of numerous benefits, please visit the Museopark website.

About the Vanier Museopark

The Vanier Museopark is a non-profit organization located in the heart of Vanier, a popular neighbourhood near downtown Ottawa. It celebrates the rich heritage and history of its community. Through its exhibits, talks, workshops, school programs and interpretive tours, the Vanier Museopark allows curious people of all ages – and all cultures – to discover and learn about the habits and customs of the local Francophonie. It is the only French-language museum in Ottawa and one of the few Canadian museums outside Quebec devoted entirely to the Francophonie. The Vanier Museopark also operates an authentic sugar shack in the heart of an urban sugar bush, the only one of its kind in the world. It also hosts the Sugar Festival, a family-friendly annual event that promotes the culture of maple syrup as well as Franco-Ontarian and Aboriginal artists. Proud of its roots, the Vanier Museopark has been anchored in the community since its creation in 2004.

– 30 –

For additional information, visuals or questions, please contact:

Annick Normand
Manager, Communications and Marketing, Vanier Museopark
Cell.: 613-878-2820

© Vanier Museopark. All rights reserved.