The Daughters of Charity’s work as nurses in the Civil War is a well-known and much-beloved part of the Community’s history. What sometimes gets overlooked, however, is the fact that throughout the years of the Civil War the Sisters continued working at established missions and even established new works.
One of the works established during the Civil War years was the American Province’s first mission in Canada. In 1861 Bishop John J. Lynch, C.M. received permission from Sr. Elizabeth Montcellet, Superioress General of the Daughters of Charity, to request Sisters for a new mission in Toronto. In 1862 three Sisters – Sisters Mary Joseph Murphy, Barbara Claris, and Simeon Quinn — traveled to Toronto to establish St. Vincent’s Select School. By May of 1862 eight Sisters were serving at the school, which occupied at large frame building on the grounds of St. Mary’s Church. The school became known as St. Mary’s Academy Industrial School for Girls; it was a free school with an enrollment of approximately 200 pupils.
In 1868 the Sisters withdrew from the mission in Toronto, and the Community currently has no missions there. In 1998 Daughters of Charity located in the Province of Quebec affiliated with the former Albany Province. Today the Sisters in Montreal are part of the Province of St. Louise.