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“The Grey Nuns refused no one, their arms and doors were always open.”


Displays inside the museum portray what life was like for the Grey Nuns.


square feet each, was quite the undertaking at the time. Te structure also included a root cellar, attic for storage, two field-stone foundations and an additional wing for the cha- pel. It quickly became too small for the growing communi- ty’s needs – or the congregation’s ability and will to expand. Nevertheless, the Grey Nuns made do with what they had, moving services, students, patients and their own sleeping quarters from one corner or floor of the convent to another. Without hesitation they made room and improvised so that any new need identified, any urgent care required, any new endeavour, could be offered or carried out. From abandoned babies on the north porch, grown men with fatal injuries or infections, seniors needing a home or children coming to and from class, the Grey Nuns originally took care of it all. Over time, to meet the growing needs of the convent, they built other buildings – hospitals, hospices, other convents and schools – from which education, specialized care and services were offered.


thehubwinnipeg.com Figuring out the past


Visitors will often ask specific questions: where was the hospital? Where was Louis Riel’s classroom? Where were the orphans? It has not been easy to establish a clear and comprehensive outline of “what was where” in this building, throughout the century that it was lived in and used by the Grey Nuns, but we have tried. We have perused the chronicles left behind. We have re-


viewed the annual reports sent to Montreal. We have stud- ied the records of the very first hospital admissions to get a sense of the types of illnesses, injuries or needs that were cared for. We have accessed census data to find the names and ages of the orphaned children who lived here. We have tried to pinpoint how many people would have lived here – whether for a short stay in hospital, a more prolonged stay as an orphan or the final stay, where many were nursed and accompanied to their last breath. We have even taken the time to speak with the Grey Nuns, who still live next door,


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