In 1929, Sister Lucina, Sister Lily and Sister Louise came to Montreal to start Mission work in the Parish of Saint John the Evangelist. This work was to continue for 35 years, first at 181 Dorchester St. West, and later in the premises of the Church itself.
During the Depression, Saint Michael’s Mission, as it was called, served as a center where physical succour and spiritual strength could be found by the destitute. Thousands were fed and clothed through the agency of the sisters not only during this period, but also in the following years. In 1961, it is recorded that the number of indigent men coming for clothing, meals, and a bet ticket averaged 300 a month.
At the same time, the Sisters carried on the more hidden work of spiritual ministration. They provided Sunday breakfast where a grand total of 2,072 were served during one year. As conditions improved in the neighbourhood and the shortage of Sisters became more apparent, it was decided that this type of work must be relinquished in 1964.
After the Sisters left the Mission, the parish of St. John the Evangelist had three social workers to continue this work for another ten years. In 1974, St. John’s entered into joint sponsorship with the Diocese of Montreal.
The Mission serves the poor and homeless in Montreal’s urban core. In particular, the Mission serves young unemployed men, ex-psychiatric patients, alcoholics, drug addicts, and ex-convicts. The guiding force for all work done at the Mission is the fundamental belief that we are all made in the image of God, and are therefore, all called to support each other in love.We strive to fulfill their needs for food and clothing, as well as their emotional and spiritual needs for guidance and support.
We believe that we are therefore called to support each other in love and compassion.
St. Michael’s seeks to provide a supportive environment and responsive volunteers for people with a variety of needs. We try to create a warm, friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere at the Mission, offering information that people need, referring them to appropriate services when necessary, and intervening on their behalf with landlords, police, welfare and any systems where they are having difficulty.
The mission is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Its services include:
light breakfasts; soup lunches; shower facilities, with soap, towels, razors; clean clothing aid in completing welfare and unemployment insurance applications; food, in emergencies; referrals to other appropriate agencies.
Every Thursday morning we paint at St. Michael’s Mission. This activity is open to everyone who comes, without exception. No training in fine arts is required. It’s not even necessary to know how to draw. The opportunity is there to work in acrylic paint or gouache, to express our feelings and thoughts in paintings of landscape, people, still life, as well as symbolic and expressionist abstraction. The bottom line is to play, and to return to the joy and simplicity we knew as children. For those who want help, advice and basic instruction is available from the artist who facilitates the activity.
We hope and pray that no individual ever feels homeless or destitute. May we all serve each other. As the numbers of people using the services has increased dramatically over the past several years, just as they depend on us, we depend on you to help us serve them. We need your prayers, and if you have a couple of hours a week to volunteer, we would love to have you. We need men’s and women’s clothes, especially underwear, socks, shoes, boots, gloves and pants. Donations of non-perishable foods, playing cards and games are always welcome. As well, we are always in need of money. Cheques should be made payable to ‘St. Michael’s Mission’. Be sure to include your name and mailing address so we can send you a tax receipt for your donation.
We need to always remember: “for when I was hungry you gave me something to eat, and I was thirsty you gave me something to drink…I needed cloths and you clothed me.” (Matthew 25: 35-36)
HOW DO YOU REACH THE MISSION?
If you would like to visit St. Michael’s Mission or drop off a donation, the doors are open between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM from Monday to Friday, inclusive.
By car, take President Kennedy to Kimberly (first street west of St. Urbain).
By Metro, go to Place des Arts station, and use the Kimberly exit.
The mailing address is:
St. Michael’s Mission, 137 President Kennedy Ave., Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2X 3P6
Phone: (514) 844-8127
Visit the Mission’s web page for more information.
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