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Visit our Interpretive Centre at 35 St. Patrick's Drive, Nelson-Miramichi

Meet our characters, from early French fur traders, to the Marquis Charles Deschamps de Boishebert, to the various shipbuilders who inhabited the island for over 100 years

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Information reposted and shared by Friends of Beaubears Island Inc., Senior Historical Correspondent, John English.

Chatham RHSJ: The history

I intended to examine just the school, but during my investigation I realized that it was so intertwined with the Sisters and hospitals and the Catholic Church, that I had to tell the whole story in order to understand the history. All pictures and text are (unless otherwise stated) from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).

The history of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph of Chatham [RHSJ]

The following is from mountsj.ca/:
It was founded the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, a congregation of religious women founded by Jerome le Royer de la Dauversiere in 1636 in Le Fleche France. A married civil servant with 5 children, he wanted to provide health care to both settlers and natives, specifically in New France, now known as Canada.
It was not until 1659 – with the help of Jeanne Manse, the 1st lay nurse of North America – that the Religious Hospitallers arrived in Montreal. Jeanne had already established a hospital in 1642 with Maisonneuve, the governor of New France.
 
On July 16, 1869, five RHSJ’s from Hotel Dieu of Montreal disembarked at Chatham, N.B., where at the request of Bishop Rogers, they had accepted to take care of the sick, to open a boarding school for young girls and an orphanage.
End of text from mountsj.ca/:

The history of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph of Chatham [RHSJ], N.B. is replete with adventure, hardship, success, and heroism. On July 16, 1869, after three days voyage (aboard the steamer Secret) our Mothers set foot upon the soil of their adopted country, where sacrifices of all kinds awaited them … (annals). The day after their arrival, they set to work preparing the first Hotel Dieu of Miramichi. In the first eighteen months, 100 patients were treated in hospital, as well as 1000 out-patients. Doctor Stafford Benson, a well-respected physician of the community, tended the sick, gratis[without charge].
Very often food and fuel were scarce. The Annals relate story after story of privation. Our fare was frugal.
Fresh meat was conspicuous on the daily menu by its absence, this delicacy being ours only when friends of the sisters procured it for us. The ordinary viands were fish, salt pork, and corned beef. Butter was not often passed while sugar was a luxury. The cold was perhaps the hardest of all. . . to endure in these days of first beginnings. Often sleep was driven away in a too engrossing search after a little warmth.

Even after moving into the third Hotel Dieu in 1876, we read in the records that conditions were much the same”. Wood and water had to be carried to the third flat by the sisters. There were thirty-nine stoves in the establishment and the sisters who sat up at night with the sick, had to watch the fires.

In l887, six sisters fell victim to tuberculosis and died. Within the next two years, a summer house was provided for
relaxation, the water pump was moved from outside into the kitchen, a furnace and hot water heating system were installed. These conveniences greatly reduced the labors of the sisters, and as is noted in the annals, after 1890 the sisters health improved.

The sisters from Montreal were not accustomed to living outside the cloister, and the circumstances during their first years in Chatham were such that regular monastic life could not be observed. Because of the strictness of their rules these conditions caused them some misgivings and sacrifice.
In 1876, however the sisters realized their dream for a regular monastery when they moved into the convent adjoining the third Hotel Dieu.

The Hospitals

I Presbytery for first resident priest
2 Episcopal Residence for Bishop Rogers 1850
3 First Hotel Dieu of Miramichi 1869 – 1870 (see Fig 1)
4 St. Joseph Preparatory School l9l9; Moved to present site 1931; Renovated 1962
5 Landscaped and renovated as a museum for centenary 1959.

The second Hotel Dieu was constructed under the direction of Bishop Rogers and consisted of a wing adjacent to the then existing church. lt was occupied by the sisters from July 1870 until 1876. The building was destroyed by fire in 1878.

The third Hotel Dieu (see Fig 2) was an elaborate building of T shaped construction. The building was an almost self-contained unit. There were gardens and orchards at the rear, kitchen and laundry facilities in the basement. The chapel and priests quarters occupied a central position accessible from all parts of the building. Between 1875 and 1913, it served as a hospital; from 19l7 to 1937, as a nurses’ residence and at different times it housed employees, boarders from the Academy, nursing assistants, senior citizens, and other persons or groups, as necessity dictated. The building was finally demolished in 1963. 

The annals record many incidents and improvements that took place in this historic building, the remains of which, in part at least, rest beneath the present Hotel Dieu Convent and adjacent lawns.

As previously mentioned, there were improvements in the multi-purpose building from time to time, and we note that in 1889 the basement was finished. On April 10, 1902, the hospital was incorporated under The Sisters of the Hotel Dieu of Chatham, N.B.  ln this year as well, the town obtained water service and upon request, the hospital was supplied free of charge.

ln 1905 the vacated school apartments were renovated and converted to serve as part of the hospital. For some time the sisters were aware that an operating room was needed, but funds were low due to school construction. However, in 1909, a donation of $15,000 was received, and in 1910 the sisters turned the sod for the fourth Hotel Dieu (see Fig 3) on Lobban Avenue. By the time of the opening in 1913, the cost had mounted to $87 000. for about 70 beds.

A new steam laundry was installed in 1917, at an expense of $6 868. In this same year the School of Nursing was opened with six students graduating in 1920. 

April 25, 1920, was the inauguration o f the Hospital Aid which continues to serve the hospital. 

Hotel Dieu passed the inspection of a doctor chosen by the American College of Surgeons and obtained standardization. That is, the hospital provided the requirements considered necessary to give adequate healthcare.

In 1923, a central heating plant was installed, providing greater comfort in all buildings of the establishment.

In May 1924, a Social Service Department was opened, the hospital employing a V. O. N. nurse.  Each day, accompanied by a student nurse, she visited the poor sick. Unfortunately, the hospital could not continue to pay the expense involved, so in an effort to maintain the much-needed service, the sisters applied to the town for support. The Town Council was not prepared to support this undertaking it was discontinued. Again in 1968, a study was made to inaugurate a Social Service Department, and although the need was present, the resources were not. History repeats itself.

The Nurses’ Alumnae was established in 1927.

ln 1922, Sister Walsh and other keen, knowledgeable religious in the hospital field were making, a study of the conditions within the Catholic Hospital Association of the United Slates and Canada, with a view to establishing a Maritime Association. This was accomplished in the 1920s, thus bringing to the Maritimes, the distinction of being the first area in Canada to organize, and the first area to pass C. H. A. standardization. 

The Nurses’ Home begun in April 1936 was completed in February 1938. In March a housewarming and Silver Tea were h eld to celebrate the opening.

Because many of the patients in the hospital didnt need active treatment, if was decided in 1948 to turn St. Michaels Academy into a Chronic Hospital. St. Michaels was renovated and re-named Mount St. Joseph, receiving chronic cases in 1949, with the formal opening February15, 1950.

Due to increased government involvement in hospital affairs, it was necessary to establish a Lay Advisory Board for the hospital in 1949. A new laundry was constructed in 1949, and a School for Nursing Assistants was opened.

In 1950, the Red Cross provided free blood transfusion service to all hospitals requesting it.

The sod was turned on May 8, 1956, and excavation begun May 30, 1956, for the proposed $ 1,141,425 hospital wing. The opening of the wing took place in 1958.The fourth Hotel Dieu was renovated at this time, bringing the bed capacity io 127.

Chatham RHSJ: The School 

All pictures and text are (unless otherwise stated) from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).

See Fig 4 for St. Michaels School

See Fig 5 for the site in 1958.

Chatham RHSJ: The Leaders and Sisters 

All pictures from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).
See Fig 6 for a list of bishops.

See Fig 7 for a list of priests and chaplans.

See Fig 8 for a list of community leaders.

See Fig 9 for a misc. collection of photos .

See Fig 10 for a list of the Sisters’ photos .

See Fig 11 for a list of the Sisters’ photos.

See Fig 12 for a picture of the Sisters’ photos.

Chatham RHSJ: Additional such as Old Records, Doctors, etc.

All pictures from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).

See Fig 13 for a key of the photocopies.

See Fig 14 for photocopies of correspondences.

See Fig 15 for photocopies of correspondences.

See Fig 16 for photocopies of correspondences.

See Fig 17 for misc. pictures.

See Fig 18 for a list of doctors and dentists.

See Fig 19 for a picture of list of doctors.

See Fig 20 an arial of the complex, which I assume is from about 1960s-ish.Image attachmentImage attachment+Image attachment

Information reposted and shared by Friends of Beaubears Island Inc., Senior Historical Correspondent, John English.

Chatham RHSJ: The history

I intended to examine just the school, but during my investigation I realized that it was so intertwined with the Sisters and hospitals and the Catholic Church, that I had to tell the whole story in order to understand the history. All pictures and text are (unless otherwise stated) from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).

The history of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph of Chatham [RHSJ]

The following is from mountsj.ca/:
It was founded the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, a congregation of religious women founded by Jerome le Royer de la Dauversiere in 1636 in Le Fleche France. A married civil servant with 5 children, he wanted to provide health care to both settlers and natives, specifically in New France, now known as Canada.
It was not until 1659 – with the help of Jeanne Manse, the 1st lay nurse of North America – that the Religious Hospitallers arrived in Montreal. Jeanne had already established a hospital in 1642 with Maisonneuve, the governor of New France.

On July 16, 1869, five RHSJ’s from Hotel Dieu of Montreal disembarked at Chatham, N.B., where at the request of Bishop Rogers, they had accepted to take care of the sick, to open a boarding school for young girls and an orphanage.
End of text from mountsj.ca/:

The history of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph of Chatham [RHSJ], N.B. is replete with adventure, hardship, success, and heroism. On July 16, 1869, "after three days voyage (aboard the steamer 'Secret') our Mothers set foot upon the soil of their adopted country, where sacrifices of all kinds awaited them" … (annals). The day after their arrival, they set to work preparing the first Hotel Dieu of Miramichi. In the first eighteen months, 100 patients were treated in hospital, as well as 1000 out-patients. Doctor Stafford Benson, a well-respected physician of the community, tended the sick, gratis[without charge].
Very often food and fuel we're scarce. The Annals relate story after story of privation. "Our fare was frugal.
Fresh meat was conspicuous on the daily menu by its absence, this delicacy being ours only when friends of the sisters procured it for us. The ordinary viands were fish, salt pork, and corned beef. Butter was not often passed while sugar was a luxury. The cold was perhaps the hardest of all. . . to endure in these days of first beginnings. Often sleep was driven away in a too engrossing search after a little warmth".

Even after moving into the third Hotel Dieu in 1876, we read in the records that "conditions were much the same”. Wood and water had to be carried to the third flat by the sisters. There were thirty-nine stoves in the establishment and the sisters who sat up at night with the sick, had to watch the fires.

In l887, six sisters fell victim to tuberculosis and died. Within the next two years, a summer house was provided for
relaxation, the water pump was moved from outside into the kitchen, a furnace and hot water heating system were installed. These conveniences greatly reduced the labors of the sisters, and as is noted in the annals, after 1890 the sisters' health improved.

The sisters from Montreal were not accustomed to living outside the cloister, and the circumstances during their first years in Chatham were such that regular monastic life could not be observed. Because of the strictness of their rules these conditions caused them some misgivings and sacrifice.
In 1876, however the sisters realized their dream for a regular monastery when they moved into the convent adjoining the third Hotel Dieu.

The Hospitals

I Presbytery for first resident priest
2 Episcopal Residence for Bishop Rogers 1850
3 First Hotel Dieu of Miramichi 1869 – 1870 (see Fig 1)
4 St. Joseph Preparatory School l9l9; Moved to present site 1931; Renovated 1962
5 Landscaped and renovated as a museum for centenary 1959.

The second Hotel Dieu was constructed under the direction of Bishop Rogers and consisted of a wing adjacent to the then existing church. lt was occupied by the sisters from July 1870 until 1876. The building was destroyed by fire in 1878.

The third Hotel Dieu (see Fig 2) was an elaborate building of "T" shaped construction. The building was an almost self-contained unit. There were gardens and orchards at the rear, kitchen and laundry facilities in the basement. The chapel and priests' quarters occupied a central position accessible from all parts of the building. Between 1875 and 1913, it served as a hospital; from 19l7 to 1937, as a nurses’ residence and at different times it housed employees, boarders from the Academy, nursing assistants, senior citizens, and other persons or groups, as necessity dictated. The building was finally demolished in 1963.

The annals record many incidents and improvements that took place in this historic building, the remains of which, in part at least, rest beneath the present Hotel Dieu Convent and adjacent lawns.

As previously mentioned, there were improvements in the multi-purpose building from time to time, and we note that in 1889 the basement was finished. On April 10, 1902, the hospital was incorporated under "The Sisters of the Hotel Dieu of Chatham, N.B." ln this year as well, the town obtained water service and upon request, the hospital was supplied free of charge.

ln 1905 the vacated school apartments were renovated and converted to serve as part of the hospital. For some time the sisters were aware that an operating room was needed, but funds were low due to school construction. However, in 1909, a donation of $15,000 was received, and in 1910 the sisters turned the sod for the fourth Hotel Dieu (see Fig 3) on Lobban Avenue. By the time of the opening in 1913, the cost had mounted to $87 000. for about 70 beds.

A new steam laundry was installed in 1917, at an expense of $6 868. In this same year the School of Nursing was opened with six students graduating in 1920.

April 25, 1920, was the inauguration o f the Hospital Aid which continues to serve the hospital.

Hotel Dieu passed the inspection of a doctor chosen by the American College of Surgeons and obtained standardization. That is, the hospital provided the requirements considered necessary to give adequate healthcare.

In 1923, a central heating plant was installed, providing greater comfort in all buildings of the establishment.

In May 1924, a Social Service Department was opened, the hospital employing a V. O. N. nurse. Each day, accompanied by a student nurse, she visited the poor sick. Unfortunately, the hospital could not continue to pay the expense involved, so in an effort to maintain the much-needed service, the sisters applied to the town for support. The Town Council was not prepared to support this undertaking it was discontinued. Again in 1968, a study was made to inaugurate a Social Service Department, and although the need was present, the resources were not. History repeats itself.

The Nurses’ Alumnae was established in 1927.

ln 1922, Sister Walsh and other keen, knowledgeable religious in the hospital field were making, a study of the conditions within the Catholic Hospital Association of the United Slates and Canada, with a view to establishing a Maritime Association. This was accomplished in the 1920's, thus bringing to the Maritimes, the distinction of being the first area in Canada to organize, and the first area to pass C. H. A. standardization.

The Nurses’ Home begun in April 1936 was completed in February 1938. In March a housewarming and "Silver Tea" were h eld to celebrate the opening.

Because many of the patients in the hospital didn't need active treatment, if was decided in 1948 to turn St. Michael's Academy into a Chronic Hospital. St. Michael's was renovated and re-named Mount St. Joseph, receiving chronic cases in 1949, with the formal opening February15, 1950.

Due to increased government involvement in hospital affairs, it was necessary to establish a Lay Advisory Board for the hospital in 1949. A new laundry was constructed in 1949, and a School for Nursing Assistants was opened.

In 1950, the Red Cross provided free blood transfusion service to all hospitals requesting it.

The sod was turned on May 8, 1956, and excavation begun May 30, 1956, for the proposed $ 1,141,425 hospital wing. The opening of the wing took place in 1958.The fourth Hotel Dieu was renovated at this time, bringing the bed capacity io 127.

Chatham RHSJ: The School

All pictures and text are (unless otherwise stated) from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).

See Fig 4 for St. Michaels School

See Fig 5 for the site in 1958.

Chatham RHSJ: The Leaders and Sisters

All pictures from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).
See Fig 6 for a list of bishops.

See Fig 7 for a list of priests and chaplans.

See Fig 8 for a list of community leaders.

See Fig 9 for a misc. collection of photos .

See Fig 10 for a list of the Sisters’ photos .

See Fig 11 for a list of the Sisters’ photos.

See Fig 12 for a picture of the Sisters’ photos.

Chatham RHSJ: Additional such as Old Records, Doctors, etc.

All pictures from “Centernary The Sisters of Chatham, NB 1869-1969”, Library of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada).

See Fig 13 for a key of the photocopies.

See Fig 14 for photocopies of correspondences.

See Fig 15 for photocopies of correspondences.

See Fig 16 for photocopies of correspondences.

See Fig 17 for misc. pictures.

See Fig 18 for a list of doctors and dentists.

See Fig 19 for a picture of list of doctors.

See Fig 20 an arial of the complex, which I assume is from about 1960s-ish.
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October 7th, 6:00 am
IAFF Local 5087 Miramichi Professional Firefighters Association 
How amazing it is to have our local fire department use the history of Beaubears Island as inspiration for their new logo. We are so very proud of your all! 
Comme il est étonnant que notre service dincendie local utilise lhistoire de lîle Beaubears comme source dinspiration pour son nouveau logo. Nous sommes tellement fiers de vous tous! 

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=183956960861227&id=100077407733306

 #Beaubear #beaubearsisland❤️ #IAFF #local5087 #miramichifirefighters #historic #mikmaq #acadians #shipbuilding #partnerships #parkscanadanb #passportplaces #explorenb

IAFF Local 5087 Miramichi Professional Firefighters Association
How amazing it is to have our local fire department use the history of Beaubears Island as inspiration for their new logo. We are so very proud of your all!
Comme il est étonnant que notre service d'incendie local utilise l'histoire de l'île Beaubears comme source d'inspiration pour son nouveau logo. Nous sommes tellement fiers de vous tous!

m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=183956960861227&id=100077407733306

#Beaubear #beaubearsisland❤️ #IAFF #local5087 #miramichifirefighters #historic #mikmaq #acadians #shipbuilding #partnerships #parkscanadanb #passportplaces #explorenb
... See MoreSee Less

October 5th, 6:00 am

Comment on Facebook

Beautiful 😍

Vary nice

Limited tickets available.
Buy yours today
Billets limités disponibles.
Achetez le vôtre aujourd'hui
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October 2nd, 9:35 pm