Our predecessors have laboured hard, in Canada, to build and administer big schools, hospitals, boarding houses, colleges which were needs of their time. Today lay people take care of these. For us, lets say these institutions have almost all turned into ¨ashes¨ as we no longer take care of these. ¨Coals¨ are burning however...and this is our task today. Different needs pop out such as work for the homeless, the displaced people, refugee camps, faith education, youth, street ministry, soup kitchens, rehabilitation centres, aids, prostitutes, prisoners, traffic of children. We, younger ones, seeking God and God alone, must light up these ¨flames¨ and go where others will not go. This is the work of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
As a child, our Foundress, Helene de Chappotin, a ¨flame¨ of love which sets the whole world ablaze, had heard many stories of Central America from members of her family on both her fathers and mothers side. She had listened attentively when her father spoke of the recent Declaration of Independence by the United States of America.
But when she became MARY OF THE PASSION, her major preoccupation was the call for help from Asia and Africa, and she hardly even thought of America until one day in January 1892, when a letter from Canada suddenly re-awakened her interest in the New World: M. labbe Ambroise Martial Fafard, the parish priest in la Baie St. Paul, on the estuary of the St. Lawrence, asked for two Sisters for the small local hospital and spoke of a possible fusion of the Institute with a fraternity of Tertiairies.
The Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary had been in existence for only 15 years, but Mary of the Passion did not hesitate to give her consent; early in May the five foundresses of the Canadian Mission left Europe. On the 17th of May, in the Chapel of the Hospitalières de Quebec, a TE DEUM arose in solemn thanksgiving for their arrival.
Then on May 20th they met the PETITES FRANCISCAINES DE MARIE at the Hospice Ste.Anne in Baie St. Paul. However, from the very beginning they realized that the aim and the rule of life of each community differed substantially. When they understood that fusion was impossible, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary decided to try to establish a foundation in Quebec, a centre better adapted to the apostolate of a Missionary Institute.