Mother Marie Thomas d'Aquin (1877-1963)

Jeanne Lydia Branda grew up near Bordeaux, France. From a young age, she felt called to become a nun and teacher. In 1899, she joined the Dominican Sisters of Nancy, where she would teach and take the name Sister Marie Thomas d’Aquin. She left France and settled in Maine where she was deeply influenced by the freedom and openness of America. While visiting Ottawa in 1914, she agreed to head the Jeanne d'Arc Institute, a home and haven for young women who were looking for employment, working or studying. Under her leadership, the Institute underwent unprecedented growth, moving to a larger complex on Sussex Street. The Institute offered classes, companionship and, above all, community. Sister Marie Thomas d’Aquin created a new order in 1919 – the Sisters of the Jeanne D’Arc Institute – that embraced openness without distinction for race, language, nationality, social status or religion, a progressive initiative blending the religious and secular that contributed to the evolution of the status of women. As head of this new congregation, she would now be called Mother. A gifted writer, her published poems, under pen name Marie Sylvia, earned many literary awards. Mother Marie Thomas d’Aquin was a forward-thinking visionary, whose mission of service and charity extended to the broader community.


In the Jeanne d'Arc Court in the ByWard Market, 18 Clarence Street, Ottawa

Region: Ottawa

County/District: City of Ottawa (District)

Municipality: City of Ottawa