Maria (Mary Martha) von Bunning; born Bohemia, Hanover, Germany on  entered July 1845 (St. Louis, Missouri) received habit October 15, 1845, [final vows on August 12, 1848], died June 13, 1868 in Toronto, Ontario and is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Burlington, Ontario.
Marie was the daughter of Wileum Von Bunning and Ellen Von Bunning. Sister Martha, journeyed from Toronto to Hamilton, Ontario on April 19, 1852, and was the foundress and first Superior of this new establishment. She immediately set up an orphanage for the children of immigrants who had died on the way to Canada and other parentless children of the Hamilton area. In 1853, she founded the Hamilton separate school system and a boarding school for girls. In 1858, Sister Martha was elected General Superior of the new congregation in Hamilton. Soon the mission houses and Catholic schools in Paris and Brantford, Ontario were opened to serve the people living in those areas. In 1861, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Home in Guelph was established by Mother Martha. In 1862, she was forced to resign as General Superior of the new congregation and reluctantly left Hamilton. In 1867, she arrived at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto convent. She died there on June 13th, 1868 aged 44 years. Mother Martha was originally buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Toronto. Then on April 19th, 2002, her remains were returned to Hamilton and reinterred in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton’s section of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Burlington. This was in the year that saw the 150th anniversary of the Sisters’ arrival in the Hamilton diocese.
Catharine Anne (Ignatia) Campbell; born Thorah Township, Brock Settlement, ON on November 17, 1840, received habit May 3, 1856, [final vows on October 15, 1858], died January 3, 1929 in London, ON and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, London, ON.
Catherine Anne’s parents were Kenneth A. Campbell and Anne McEwen. She attended S. S. #1 School in Thorah Township. On October 9, 1855, scarcely 15 years of age, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto at their Motherhouse on Power Street. After taking her vows, she taught elementary classes at St. Patrick’s School in Toronto and in the separate schools of St. Catharines and Barrie, Ontario. In 1867, Sister Ignatia was assigned to Thorold to teach in the Catholic school and named Superior of the newly-opened convent.
The following year, Sister Ignatia travelled to London, Ontario along with four other Sisters to establish a convent in response to a request from Bishop John Walsh. He announced to the parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish that the Sisters would visit the sick and the poor, teach in the separate schools, visit prisoners and establish an orphanage. They arrived on December 11, 1868 and settled in their first home which was situated on Kent Street. Before long, they moved to Mount Hope to prepare the orphanage for 17 orphans arriving on October 2, 1869. On December 18, 1870 Bishop Walsh received the vows of the Sisters who were residing in London, establishing a separate congregation. He appointed Sister Ignatia to be the General Superior. Mother Ignatia arranged for an Act of Incorporation which gave legal status to the London community on February 15, 1871.
Requests for teachers increased and Mother Ignatia opened a convent in Goderich, Ontario where the Sisters taught in the school. As more requests came, Sisters were missioned to St. Thomas and Ingersoll, Ontario to teach in the Catholic schools. As the number of Sisters, orphans, and the elderly at Mount Hope grew, the building became inadequate and it was necessary to expand. The official opening of the new building took place in 1877.
When the pleasure boat, “The Victoria,” sank on the Thames River after leaving Springbank Park, Mother Ignatia sent Sisters, two by two, to visit and to help the families who had lost a loved one.
The Inspector of Charitable Institutions, Dr. W. T. O’Reilly encouraged Mother Ignatia to open a hospital in London. The first hospital in the former home of Judge W. T. Street across from Mount Hope, was opened in 1888. Another hospital was established in Chatham, Ontario when the vacant Salvation Army barracks was leased for two years. The new hospital was built on King Street West and was formally opened and blessed on November 15, 1891. After Mother Ignatia sent two Sisters to study as graduate nursing specialists, the St. Joseph’s Schools of Nursing at the London and Chatham hospitals were established.
Due to overcrowding at Mount Hope, the need to separate the children and the senior residents was the catalyst which encouraged Mother Ignatia to seek a new property when Hellmuth Ladies’ College closed. After the blessing on April 26, 1900, Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, Novitiate and Orphanage officially opened.
Mother Ignatia, who had governed the Community for 32 years, resigned as General Superior and was elected first councillor. On December 10, 1918 the Community celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the coming of Sisters of St. Joseph to London. Mother Ignatia was present for the Mass and was the only living member who was with the original band of Sisters who had arrived in London in 1868.
Catherine (Austin); born Gore’s Bridge, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland on March 22,1841, entered January 14, 1858, received habit August 16, 1858, [final vows on November 22, 1860], died September 26, 1901 in Peterborough, Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Peterborough, Ontario.
Catherine was the daughter of Daniel Doran and Anastasia Doyle and spent her childhood in Kingston, Ontario. Sister M. Austin joined the Toronto Sisters of St. Joseph less than two years after the death of the first Superior of the Toronto Congregation, Mother Delphine Fontbonne, and less than three years before the canonical separation of the Toronto Congregation from Carondolet. In the Toronto Congregation, her virtues and talents brought her to the notice of her Superiors, who in 1866, appointed her Mistress of Novices. She was re-appointed to this office in 1877. On September 3, 1883, Sister Austin arrived as local superior and teacher at the new mission in Cobourg, Ontario.
In 1890, when Bishop R. A. O’Connor formed his own diocesan congregation, Mother Austin was one of the three Cobourg Sisters who volunteered to join the new foundation, thus becoming one of the 20 foundresses of the Peterborough congregation. On August 15, 1890, Mother Austin was elected the first General Superior of the newly formed congregation. The new Motherhouse was to be the former Loretto Convent and Boarding School in Lindsay, Ontario, which was renamed St. Joseph’s Academy. Reverend Mother Austin would remain there to govern the existing missions in Cobourg, Port Arthur (hospital and school), Fort William mission, Peterborough (St. Joseph’s Hospital) and Lindsay Academy where she would be both the Local Superior and Mistress of Novices as well as having the responsibility of all of the above with only 20 Sisters! Mother Austin received 15 new members during that first year.
With many new members entering each year, it became evident by 1893 that there was a real need for more accommodation than could be provided in Lindsay. Mother Austin purchased the beautiful Sherwood property known as Inglewood, consisting of a ten acre farm, a house, barn, and extensive grounds. This was a leap of faith as the Sisters were extremely poor. The Bishop had declared that he could not offer any financial help, so Mother Austin accepted a loan of $1,000, as down payment, from her sister-in-law, Mrs. James Doran. The rest was borrowed from the bank. At times, Mother Austin did not have the necessary money to purchase a postage stamp (2 cents). Inglewood was renamed Mount St. Joseph and remained the Motherhouse of the congregation (with many additions and renovations) from 1895 to 2008 (when a new building was constructed adjacent to the original Inglewood).
In 1895, the Congregation numbered 53; five years earlier, the number had been 20; six years later, in 1901, the total number grew to 86 Sisters. Within the first nine years, Mother Austin had the sad task of burying six young Sisters, victims of tuberculosis and typhoid fever. In spite of all the trials of that first decade in the life of the new congregation, Mother Austin assumed the responsibility of staffing the House of Providence, built in 1900. By the early months of 1901, her health was failing and on September 26, she died at the age of 63.
Perhaps Mother Austin’s greatest gift to the young congregation was the deeply spiritual guidance which she gave the candidates during the first 11 years. Senior Sisters considered it a great privilege to have made their Novitiate under the guidance of Mother Austin. She had gleaned from the Toronto foundresses a wealth of information which she passed on to the first Sisters who entered the Peterborough congregation: information about Mother Delphine, Mother St. John Fontbonne, the Congregation in France, the early days in Carondolet, the traditions and spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph. One of these Toronto foundresses was Sister Bernard Dinan, with whom Mother Austin lived for several years, and who, later, became her General Superior, and who, like Mother Austin, was a native of Ireland. Theirs was a lifelong friendship, and ended only with their deaths, just six days apart in September 1901. During her years as Superior General, Reverend Mother Austin impressed all who knew her by her unbounded trust in God and confidence in the intercession of St. Joseph, and by her great courage in the face of difficulty, a courage that was exceptional. She laid a strong spiritual foundation for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough and left a legacy of memories of a truly great religious woman. In 1990, during the Centennial celebrations of the Peterborough congregation’s founding, the separate school board of Peterborough-Victoria-Northumberland and Newcastle named one of its new schools ‘St. Catherine’s’, after Mother Austin as a tribute to her followers, all the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough.
Julia (Mary Vincent) Carroll; born Toronto, Ontario on August 23, 1855, entered September 8, 1873 in Toronto, received habit January 6, 1874, [final vows on January 8, 1876], died July 30, 1930 in Pembroke, Ontario and is buried in St. Columba’s Cemetery, Pembroke, Ontario.
Julia, daughter of John Carroll and Ann Cronin, was born in Toronto but moved to St. Catharines, Ontario as a child. Sister Mary Vincent was a teacher and music instructor. In 1885, she was sent to Fort William where she taught the girls in the mission as well as a choir of 25 boys. From 1891 to 1899, she was superior of the Peterborough Hospital.
Sister Mary Vincent spent 17 years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto and then was one of 20 Sisters who volunteered to go to Peterborough in 1890. For the next 31 years, she served in the various houses of the Peterborough Congregation. In August 1921, when a new foundation was established in Pembroke, Sister Vincent volunteered to move to the new foundation and was named the first General Superior of this new foundation. She served in several capacities for nine years before retiring. In July 1930, while on retreat, she collapsed and died a few days later. Sister Vincent belonged to the Toronto, Peterborough and Pembroke congregations over the course of 57 years. She was one of the founding Sisters of the Pembroke Congregation.