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The Sisters welcome guests for rest, refreshment, retreat, and participation in the Community's prayer and liturgy.

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Women are invited to explore a new monastic initiative of the Sisters of St. John the Divine: prayer, community, learning, service, and creative enjoyment.

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The Story of an Anglican Sisterhood
by The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine edited by Jane Christmas & Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD

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The Community

The Community August 2012
Sisters of St. John the Divine - August 2018
Back row: Sisters Margaret Ruth, Beryl, Brenda, Kathryn, Constance Joanna, Susanne, Prisca,
Elizabeth Ann, Dorothy Grace, Postulant Suzanne Marie, Amy Joy, Postulant Maria
Middle row: Sisters Jocelyn, Sue, Wilma, Sarah Jean, Anitra, Jessica, Louise, Doreen
Front row: Sisters Helen Claire, Dorothy, Elizabeth (Reverend Mother) Anne, Wendy Grace

The Sisterhood of St. John the Divineis a contemporary expression of the religious life for women

within the Anglican Church of Canada. Nurtured by our founding vision of prayer, community and ministry,
we are open and responsive to the needs of the church and the contemporary world,
continually seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our life and ministry.

The Community

The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine is a contemporary expression of the religious life for women within the Anglican Church of Canada. We were founded in Toronto on September 8th, 1884. We are a prayer- and gospel-centred monastic community, bound together by the call to live out our baptismal covenant through the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

What makes us monastic?

One aspect is the importance of prayer in our lives and the emphasis on working towards a balance of life of prayer, work and rest. We have 2 hours set aside daily for private prayer – meditation, reading and praying with the holy scriptures, and reading other spiritual books to deepen our union with God. We have another 2 or more hours of daily prayer together in our Chapel. We are monastic because we hold all things in common as witnessed in our vow of poverty. We live intentionally in community and are committed to stability in our lives and relationships as witnessed through our vow of chastity. And we follow a Rule of Life, a way of living that depends upon our listening for God in our lives as witnessed through our vow of obedience.

Living as we do in a time of unprecedented change, we find that these vows anchor us in the life of Jesus and in the transforming experience of the Gospel. Nurtured by our founding vision of prayer, community and service, we are open and responsive to the needs of the church and the contemporary world, continually seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our life and ministry.

Called to be a sign of Christ, the Sisterhood witnesses to the power of his reconciling and forgiving love through the gospel imperatives of prayer, spiritual guidance, justice, peace, care for creation, hospitality, ministering to those in need, and promoting unity, healing, and wholeness.

Currently we minister in the following areas:

  • Our Convent and St. John’s House in Victoria, BC are centres of spirituality, prayer, worship, and music. There are also services held for patients and others in the chapel in the Rehab. Prayer is our first work.
  • We provide outreach to others: preaching, teaching, retreats and missions: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Guest House ministry enables many to come to us to have times of retreat and renewal in their lives. We offer many programs to feed the spiritually hungry in heart, mind and body. [See Food for the Soul webpage here »]. Other outreach ministries include a music ministry at St. Simon the Apostle church in the St. Jamestown area of Toronto; working with CARTS in downtown Victoria with street people; visiting sick and shut-ins around the city; and our intercessory prayer, to name a few of the areas where we provide outreach to others.
  • We have ministries of pastoral and spiritual care: Sisters work at St. John’s Rehab [webpage »]; we have regular healing services in all our chapels; we offer a ministry of spiritual direction and pastoral conversations with those who come to us.
  • We are involved in education and life-long learning. Informed Christians have discerning hearts. It is said that if you want to know what is going on in the world, be present at one of the Sisters’ services in chapel where we are praying and you’ll hear the concerns of the world. Through the programs we offer to others, we teach others about discernment, prayer and spirituality. Our libraries are resources for Sisters and our Guests. One sister teaches at Wycliffe College at UofT and so we are able to reach out to students.
  • Our Community life is essential to enable us to minister to others. When we have a strong community life, a place where new members are formed and where the infirm members can be cared for after having cared for others so lovingly all their lives, when this life is strong, we can care for many others. We have a large body of Associates and Oblates, over 900, who have formalized a spiritual connection with our community, most come from across Canada, but others are from the States, and across the world.
  • Stewardship of resources is a strong value of the Sisterhood. It is through our own stewardship of resources that we model the gospel values of Simplicity, Integrity, Compassionate Love and Owning no private property but holding all things in common. We look for ways we can tread more gently on the earth through reusing, recycling, and reducing waste and use of fossil fuels. Our corps of Volunteers help through their time and talent to forward the mission and ministries of the Sisterhood.

The Sisterhood of St. John the DivineMother Hannah

Through our prayer and spirituality, outreach to others, pastoral and spiritual care, community life and stewardship we are celebrating more than 130 years of Prayer, Love and Service. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has added an article about SSJD Foundress Mother Hannah Grier - see Tweet here » (with link to the article)

The Sisters of SSJD

A blog of short biographies of the sisters, posted in alphabetical order.
Link to the "Sisters of SSJD" -- biographies home page blog: starts here »

Direct links to individual posts for sisters:

Sr. Amy Joy   Sr. Constance Joanna   Sr. Elizabeth Ann   Sr. Louise
Sr. Anitra   Sr. Doreen   Sr. Helen Claire   Sr. Patricia
Sr. Anne   Sr. Dorothy   Sr. Jessica   Sr. Sarah Jean
Sr. Beryl   Sr. Dorothy Grace   Sr. Jocelyn   Sr. Wilma
Sr. Brenda   Sr. Elizabeth   Sr. Kathryn    

and to four additional posts:

Our Black History Heritage   Sister Frances Joyce
Mother Hannah Grier Coome   Sister Dora

Other blogs of SSJD:


  • The Gathering ( a gathering of Sisters, Associates and Oblates held in 2009 - here »