Archives of the Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil of Montreal
The Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil of Montreal, founded by Marie Gérin-Lajoie (1890-1971) in Montreal in 1923, is devoted to the welfare of women and young girls. The Institut intervenes directly, taking care to act upon society so as to improve the diverse spheres in which women participate: familial, societal and professional.
Social centres are the primary vectors of the Institut’s interventions. These are centres of popular education and social services which work toward the promotion of human dignity and social justice, collaborating with actors from diverse backgrounds for the improvement of living standards.
Social work demands thorough and specific training. In 1931, Marie Gérin-Lajoie opened the l’École d’action sociale which offered such preparation to social service agents until the opening of Cégeps in 1968. The order also established, in 1936, the École d’éducation familiale et sociale which offered education in familial science and prepared young women to fulfill their role in the family and in society.
As the Québec government took charge of social services and education, the Institut responded by developing new ways of expressing its social mission. The sisters strengthened their ties with the community, with religious orders, and other organisms in order to establish mutual aid services, promoting social solidarity and education.
DESCRIPTION OF FONDS AND COLLECTIONS
The archives of Marie Gérin-Lajoie, founder of the Institut, attest to her aims to found a community to work towards the improvement of standards of living for women and families in an evolving society. Among them, one finds documents from the Institut’s foundation, its involvement in social action and education, and its spiritual life. The archives of the Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil shine a light on the works that realized its mission:
- Social centres providing social services, mutual aid, residences for women and girls, reception of immigrants, and popular education workshops.
- Training: School of social action, School of social and family education, School of family arts, continuing education courses, daycare, and kindergarten.
- Charities for youth: study circles, summer camps, playgrounds.
The archives department conserves the archives of a mission to Cuba engaged in education, social action and ministry, and a social centre in Haiti characterised by action in solidarity with women, social training and involvement with youth.
The collection includes fonds from the nuns and the fonds of the Messagères de Jésus that were transferred to the Institut in 1967.
Around 865 pieces including many objects, paintings, drawings, several relics, religious costumes, liturgical vestments, and sacred vases.
Time span included in archives: 1890-2015
Technical specifications and maps: approx. 5
Iconographic documents: 13,850
Text documents: 75 m.l.
Number of fonds: 2 inst, 44 p
MANDATE AND MISSION
The mission of the archives is to maintain the memory of the foundation of the l'INDBC, its founder Marie Gérin-Lajoie, its members, the works and social training throughout its history; to contribute to the transmission of the foundation’s charisma, and to make known the community’s history and its contribution to society.
The archives department’s mandate is to ensure the conservation of historical and administrative documents; to promote their dissemination and transmission while responding to requests for information, collaborating with authors of publications concerning the Institut’s founder and works.