The Generalate

By Michelle Renaud
Photos: Josée Sarrazin

On December 31, 1973 and on January 5, 1974 the members of the General Council received the sisters of the Congregation to offer them their best wishes for the New Year. While there, the sisters were invited to visit the Generalate.


Some of the members of the 1970-74 General Council and two sisters welcomed at the Generalate on December 31, 1973 – Sister Cécile Robichaud, General Councillor for Education, Sister Bernadette Bourgault, Sister Yvette Cournoyer, Assistant General Councillor to the Superior General, Sister Marguerite Ouellet, Superior General and Sister Annette Guilbert.

Since 1913, the building at 2330 Sherbrooke Street West was identified with the École nor­male Jacques-Cartier, renamed École normale Notre-Dame-de-Montréal in 1957. But when the École normale closed in 1969 as a result of the education reform brought about by the Parent Commission, the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame had to re-examine the building’s use. In June 1971 they decided to establish the headquarters of the General Administration1 at this location. The members of the General Council moved there in the autumn of 1972 and the building became “the Generalate.” The offices and services were relocated there in March 1973 and its local community was formed: 33 French-speaking sisters who worked in the different services such as the Bursar’s Office, the Secretariat, the Archives, the printing facility, etc.

At the same time the new Generalate took on another mission. In September 1971, Notre Dame Secretarial School (known after 1980 as Collège de Secrétariat Notre-‍Dame/​Notre-​Dame Secretarial College), quite confined in the Congregation’s sixth mother house (present-​day Dawson College), moved over to the rooms it rented there. A community of eight English-speaking sisters, the teachers and administrators of the Secretarial School, was formed. It is interesting to note that until the Secretarial College closed in 1997 the Generalate housed two distinct communities, an English-speaking one and a French-speaking one.

The building at 2330 Sherbrooke Street West was known as the Generalate until 2005 when it became the eighth mother house of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. It continued to house the General Administration. At this time, the local community of the Generalate expanded its mission and became known as the International Community of the Mother House.




At the Archives – Sister Raymonde Plouffe and Sister Dolorès Gaulin.


At the printing facility – Sister Laurette Saint-Georges and Sister Raymonde Saint-Georges


At the Secretariat: Sister Gilberte Barrette, Sister Laura Greer, Sister Marie-Thérèse St-Onge, Sister Simonne Poissant and Sister Rita Blais


  1. Before moving to 2330 Sherbrooke Street West, the offices and services of the General Administration were located at the sixth mother house at 3040 Sherbrooke Street West. [return to text]

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