The community of the Precious Blood was the very first contemplative community to appear on the territory of Canada. It was a closed religious institution of the Catholic Church. It was founded in the second half of the 19th century in Quebec, but not long after, the activity of the religious community spread to the capital of Canada. Find out more at ottawanka.com.
The religious community of the Precious Blood in Canada, the story of its establishment
The community of the Precious Blood was first founded in Canada in Quebec City in 1861. The founder of this religious community was Sister Catherine Aurelia Caouette. She was deeply immersed in the Paschal Mystery. Awareness of God’s infinite love led young Catherine Aurelia Caouette to her unique understanding of His Precious Blood. In her mind, God’s blood symbolized His love and victory through suffering. All this became a source of spirituality for Catherine.
The community, consisting of several sisters, quickly grew and became a vast religious community of the Precious Blood. The first foundation of the religious community was established in the Canadian city of Toronto. The headquarters of the сommunity of the Precious Blood was located in London, but the monastery with nuns was located in Quebec City.
The activities of the religious community in the second half of the 19th century were very successful. As a result, the community of the Precious Blood expanded and monasteries appeared in other cities. Such was how the Monastery of the Precious Blood came into being in the Canadian capital.
The appearance of the Ottawa Monastery of the Precious Blood
The Quebec nuns of the Monastery of the Precious Blood came to the Canadian capital in 1887, intending to establish another Monastery of the Precious Blood. For several years they searched for a suitable building for the future Ottawa Monastery of the Precious Blood. Eventually, in 1898, the nuns of the Precious Blood purchased a stone building, the former McKay Manor. It was located in Ottawa on Echo Street. After all, over time, it turned out that the building was too outdated, so the nuns decided to completely demolish the old manor and build a new modern monastery instead. The building was demolished in 1914 and the same year, construction work began. The nuns of the Precious Blood did not manage to build a new monastery in a short time. In 1916, there was a severe shortage of steel, which was instigated by World War I. In 1917, the architect of the new monastery fled with the money of the nuns of the Precious Blood. The construction of a new Monastery of the Precious Blood stood unfinished for another four years. But despite all the difficulties, the religious community of the Precious Blood made every effort to find materials and labor to build the new Ottawa Monastery of the Precious Blood. The nuns didn’t take up residence in the new monastery until 1923. At the same time, the monastery chapel was still partially unfinished. It took until 1960 for the Ottawa Monastery of the Precious Blood to be fully completed.
In the chapel, which for a long time couldn’t be completed, the Ottawa nuns of the Precious Blood held public masses. It was a way of connecting the community with its neighbors.
As in all monasteries, the Sisters of the Precious Blood followed their routine of prayer and daily work. They sustained the existence of Ottawa’s community of the Precious Blood through the sale of various handmade items, as well as through donations from concerned citizens.
At the same time, the primary mission of the community of the Precious Blood was the prayer for saving the world and increasing the holiness of the clergy of the Catholic Church.
Besides that, the nuns of the Precious Blood wore their distinctive religious garments. It consisted of a white tunic with a red scapular and a red sash.
In the 1990s, Ottawa’s religious community of the Precious Blood declined significantly. The sisters found themselves unable to maintain the monastery, so they were forced to sell it and relocate the remaining nuns to the Monasteries of the Precious Blood in other cities.