About the Sisters
As Sisters of St. Martha we respond to the call of Jesus, as Martha did, in a spirit of simplicity, attentiveness and hospitality, serving the needs of the Church in a life consecrated to God in community.
Our story begins in 1916 with Bishop Henry O’Leary whose deep faith and vision of the Church enabled him to foresee the needs that would be met by the service and ministry of the Sisters of St. Martha. On July 17, 1916, Bishop Henry’s dream was fulfilled when he welcomed four Island women, the nucleus of a new Religious Community, to their convent in St. Dunstan’s College. It was here that they began to serve the Island students and priests in the domestic field of hospitality. Bishop Henry desired his new congregation would be engaged in a variety of works that would meet not only the needs of the diocese but beyond.
Within 10 years the tiny group increased to almost 40 members and along with St. Dunstan’s College, were engaged in hospitality with children, elderly and infirm. In spite of heavy responsibilities the Sisters had a strong pioneer spirit and gave witness to God’s love wherever the need arose. When it became evident that nursing and education were a great need in the diocese, the Sisters became engaged in varieties of studies, and served not only in hospitality, but also in professional and administrative roles.
As members increased in number so did their intuitive spirit and ministry outreach. The Island became dotted with Sisters teaching in several rural areas and pioneered the opening of the first rural High School in Kinkora. Encouraging a wholistic view of the person, the Sisters added art, music and drama to their ministries.
Along with giving faithful service on PEI, the Sisters also accepted the call to serve in other parts of Canada, United States and Third World. Whether in educational endeavors, social work, nursing or other hospital ministries, diocesan or parish works, spirituality or ecological justice, the Marthas lived their works and faith through their Motto of ‘Love and Service’.
In our founding years, Bishop O’Leary once stated: “Under God it is the tiny grain of Mustard Seed which will grow and flourish and send out roots and branches to other parts.”
Our history bears witness to our many Apostolic Works and Missions.