Saint Joseph Renewal Center, located in the beautiful village of Mabou, Nova Scotia is a facility operated by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal. It offers space for groups and individuals who wish to “come aside and rest awhile” for retreats, workshops and other renewal programs.
One hundred years ago our Sisters answered an invitation to come to Mabou to teach and meet the needs of the people at that time. From the outset there seemed to be a need for girls to be received as boarders in the residence known as St. Joseph Convent.
As time went on the then existing convent became inadequate to house Sisters, boarders and school. Consequently in 1952 this present structure was completed and opened to receive some ninety girls as boarders to attend the High School. This apostolate continued until 1978. At this time the Sisters were following the trends unfolding in the educational system until such time as the need for the boarding school no longer existed. After prayer, reflection and consultation on the part of the Sisters the doors of the existing boarding school closed. On September 16, 1979, under the leadership of Sister Eileen Tobin, the doors reopened and our facilities were then to be used to promote the human and spiritual development of the people. At this time in the Church Vatican 2 brought about many rapid changes and our people sensed a greater need to turn to prayer and to become more deeply rooted in faith experiences . Cursillos, Challenge, Marriage Preparation Courses, Christopher Courses, Days of Reflection, Private and Preached Retreats, Retreats and various other programs found a home in Saint Joseph Renewal Centre most of which are still being offered here. The cooperation of our people with God’s grace by their attendance at these sessions has been a source of encouragement and strength. Our prayer is one of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for all that has been and a plea for continued guidance as we strive to find ways of being of service to God’s people.