The Sisters of the Sacred Heart
The Congregation of The Sisters of the Sacred Heart was founded by Blessed Maria Schinina in Ragusa, Sicily in 1889. On August 22nd, 1958, Mother Alba Puglia and seven other Sisters arrived in Welland at the request of Monsignor Vincent Ferrando. Three of the Sisters were assigned to the community in Lewiston, New York, while the other five Sisters remained in Canada to provide spiritual and moral support to the Italian community of Saint Mary’s parish. The Sisters lived in a small house purchased for them on Hellems Avenue.
The daycare was opened in February 1959 at St. Mary’s Parish Centre. It began with only one child, but soon after, a mother from the neighbourhood brought her child to the daycare, and it began to flourish.
With an increase in religious vocations and children in the daycare, the Sisters purchased a large residence on Edward Street in December, 1962. With the help of community volunteers, the sisters worked tirelessly to clean and upgrade part of the facility, leaving the rest of the residence as a challenge for the future. The daycare moved from the Parish Centre to the new convent in June, 1963. To support the finances of the convent, two of the Sisters began teaching at St. Mary School, and another began working at the Welland General Hospital in the mid-1960′s. Becoming firmly established in the community, the number of children and families, elderly and hospital patients being touched by the Sisters’ apostolic work was ever-expanding.
In 1978, the Sisters began to update the unused area of the convent. Two wings were knocked down, leaving the central area of the building to be redesigned to include more space for the daycare.
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Welland have been instrumental in establishing missions in different parts of the world. On August 15, 1988, Mother Alba and Sister Caroline Sneek left Welland to go to the Philippines to establish a community in Manila, where the Sisters are involved in parish activities, teach and run an orphanage for abandoned children. In 2004, the Sisters, under the leadership of Sister Lourdes Maminta, arrived in Jharsuguda, India to establish a mission there. In India, the Sisters work in a leper clinic caring for the sick, and have a house of formation for young candidates to religious life.
The Sisters continue in their pastoral work, visiting the sick and elderly and providing educational and religious instruction to the children they serve. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart have nurtured, taught, loved and guided the hearts, minds, and souls of hundreds of individuals in the Niagara region and around the world.
Inducted: January 30, 2009