Journey to a Mission

Chronology Leading to the Arrival of the Sisters of Providence in Washington Territory, 1856

The story of the Sisters of Providence coming to the American West has captivated and held deep meaning for the religious community as well as its sponsored ministries. From its French-Canadian homeland to the open, frontier country of North America, this community—one of the first in the Pacific Northwest—was driven by a fervor that was outward-looking yet introspective, spiritual yet concerned with the world.

This online exhibit retraces the events leading to the emergence and arrival of the mission in the West. One hundred fifty years later the relevance of these formative events and long travels are still felt.


blanchetsmallThe Bishop’s Petition, September 24, 1856

caronsmallThe Decision of the General Council, October 3, 1856

missionariessmallA New Group of Missionary Sisters, October 26, 1856

asilelinesmallEntrance of the Postulants, October 28, 1856

decreesmallThe Missioning, October 30, 1856

srjosephsmallA Vow of Perfection, November 1, 1856

newyorksmallDeparture: Montreal, Arrival: New York City, November 3, 1856

steamshipsmallDeparture: New York City, November 6, 1856

jamaicasmallArrival: Kingston, Jamaica, November 13, 1856

aspinwallsmallArrival: Aspinwall and Panama City, November 18-19, 1856

acapulcosmallArrival: Acapulco, November 23, 1856

sanfranciscosmallArrival: San Francisco, November 30, 1856

columbia2smallDeparture: San Francisco, December 4, 1856

storm2smallOff the Oregon Coast & into the Columbia River, December 6-7, 1856

150logosmallArrival: Vancouver, December 8, 1856

sacredheartsmallFirst Mass at St. James Mission, Vancouver, December 9, 1856

deliberationsmallFirst Council Meeting, December 11, 1856

missionplansmallA Room of Their Own, December 16, 1856

crechesmallChristmas in Vancouver, December 25, 1856

blanchetmandatesmallThe Bishop's Mandate, December 31, 1856