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Our Foundress

Blessed Marie Rose Durocher (1811-1849) foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, had a compelling desire to educate the poor, to empower struggling women both spiritually and intellectually, and to enable those within her influence to develop to their full potential. Today’s Sisters of the Holy Names embody those same characteristics, and endeavor to exemplify her spirit and charism in their ministries.

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) was founded in 1843 by Eulalie Durocher in Lonqueuil, Quebec, Canada. As Sister Marie Rose, she committed her energies, and those of the women who joined her, to providing a Christian education for the poorer girls living in rural areas. 

Today, we are an international congregation of vowed Catholic women and Associates dedicated to the service of others. Our name is often shortened to Sisters of the Holy Names or the letters SNJM (from the French name - Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie).

Our Mission is the full development of the human person through education, contemplation, social justice, and the arts--with a focus on the education and empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged.

Sisters of the Holy Names is currently organized into four provinces: U.S.-Ontario Province (headquartered in Marylhurst, Oregon) Quebec, Manitoba and Lesotho, and a Mission Secteur (Peru and Brazil).

The U.S.-Ontario Province consists of about 570 SNJM Sisters and 400 Associates (women and men who share our mission, but do not make vows). Sisters in the U.S.-Ontario Province minister in Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, Mississippi, New York, the Mid-Atlantic area, and in Ontario, Canada. 

Our presence in California started in 1868, when Holy Names Sisters were asked to come to Oakland,  to establish a school. That school was the first in the city to include a high school program. The Sisters went on to establish schools in Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, and Marin; two of which, Holy Names High School and Holy Names College in Oakland, were recognized as among the top schools in the nation. Sisters of the Holy Names expanded into Southern California in 1889 with Ramona Convent in Alhambra, which was also awarded exemplary school status, and went on to establish forty-one schools throughout California.