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The Congrégation de Notre-Dame Will Sell Villa-Maria Domain in Seven years

Les Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame announced that they will leave their domain located in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal and the City of Westmount. The search for a buyer will begin in the coming months. However, this sale will only be effective in seven years, after the sisters have moved to a place better suited for their age and health conditions, as well as the termination of the lease with Villa Maria College.

Today, faced with the aging and reduction in the number of its members, the Congregation, like many other religious congregations in the same situation, must come to dispose of a housing stock whose management is becoming too cumbersome for the resources available.

The domain is a 2,271,411 square foot site owned by Les Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame since 1854. Beyond the vast gardens and the old orchard, there is a residence for autonomous sisters; an infirmary for sisters whose health is declining; an administrative centre; a private high school (Villa Maria) and a private CEGEP (Marianopolis).

The management of the current infirmary located on the domain will be entrusted to a specialized firm as of October 1, 2023. The Congregation remains the owner. In a few years, given the decline in the number of sisters, the infirmary will be closed and the sisters in need of care will be transferred to a residence managed by a third party outside the domain.

Marianopolis College, a private higher education institution, has occupied, since 2007, a building constructed in 1926. Institutional succession is assured and the NPO that has been managing the College for a few years will acquire the building and land in the coming months for the continuation of its educational mission.

The Congregation will respect the current lease binding it to Villa Maria College, a private high school founded by the Congregation in 1854. The remaining lease term is seven years, until December 2030. Therefore, all current students and those admitted in 2024 will be able to complete their studies in the current buildings. The Board of Directors of the College that is responsible for the management of the institution will make all the necessary decisions regarding the future of the institution.

“It is with great sadness that we had to resolve to put the domain up for sale,” stated Sister Ona B. Bessette, General Superior of the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. “Over the past few years, we have worked very hard to try to find solutions that would allow the sisters to continue to live at this domain to which they are very attached and that we have owned for 189 years. Unfortunately, this was not possible for reasons beyond our control. Today, the management of the domain is far too cumbersome for a community whose average age is over 86 years old. Therefore, we must turn this page of history, but we wish to do so in respect of our educational mission and of all our partners,” she concluded.

For all the sisters, this new stage will be lived in prayer and collaboration with the various partners. The Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame remain in service in new forms and continue to move forward in faith and hope.

About the Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Les Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame is a Catholic religious community founded in Ville-Marie (Montreal) in the 17th century by Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. Marguerite Bourgeoys supported the Sieur de Maisonneuve in the development of the colony in 1653, opened the first school in 1658, welcomed and trained the Filles du Roy who came from France to marry the settlers, start families, colonize the territory and therefore, build the society of New France.

Women of faith and commitment, the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame are well known for their exceptional contribution to the education of girls and boys, to the creation and management of over 340 schools in Quebec and to the creation of the first higher education schools and university for women. In addition to this liberating education, they provide help to suffering and marginalized people. The work of the Congregation has several facets on four continents: teaching in schools, solidarity with women, pastoral care, social justice, protection of the environment, etc.

Currently, the Congregation has 531 sisters in several countries and regions such as Canada, the United States, Central America (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala), Cameroon and Japan. In Quebec, the average age of the sisters is over 86 years old.