GRAVELBOURG SCHOOL

CONVENT OF JESUS AND MARY

(Ecole Gravelbourg)

7 Arthabasca Street, gravelbourg, sk

(306) 648-3301

Status: Former School, Former Convent, Museum

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History

The Sisters of Jesus and Mary were founded in 1816 in Lyon, France and first entered Canada 1855 in Quebec. The sisters were sent to Gravelbourg to take over teaching from the lay teachers. They arrived in 1915 and began teaching in a small chapel known as La Maison Blanche.

In August of 1918 they moved into their newly built convent.

For the next 52 years the young ladies were taught here and gained their education from the nuns who had been educated in Universities in New York and Massachusetts. The focus of their education was on music, drama and the sciences.

In 1926 two wings were built onto the existing building. They became College Thevenet which became part of the University of Ottawa in 1929. The nuns who were trained here went out to become teachers themselves in rural Saskatchewan.

During the Great Depression the school board could not pay the teachers yet they stayed on the job accepting promissory notes instead of money.

By the 1960’s there were so many students a separate high school needed to be – and was – built. In 1970 the nuns sold the convent to the school board for use as an elementary school and retired to a house in the town.

In December of 2000 – with a great dwindling of numbers – the Sisters left Gravelbourg. The convent served as the town’s elementary school until 2016.

(The convent now sits empty hosting only a few events a year). We stand corrected the building is not empty. For a list of the occupants please see the Comment by Friend of the Convent below. So happy to see this unique and historical building being used.

A society dedicated to saving the very unique and beautiful convent has been formed and is working with the Province in hopes of not losing this historically and culturally significant building.

The 4th floor – former home to the dorms - has already been closed off for public safety it has degraded so much.

 

Paranormal Activity

On the 4th floor – now inaccessible – is said to be haunted by a lady who makes her presence known by opening and closing doors.

A little girl – said to have died from tuberculosis – haunts the building. Her apparition has been seen and she is said to be responsible for the cold spots in the former convent.

A little boy – said to have disappeared in the building – is seen in the auditorium.

Other Activity: disembodied whispers; shadow figures; feelings of being watched and not being alone.


Testimonial by Friend of the Convent

Just so you know, the building is not empty. It is home to a music center, 2 art studios, 2 aesthetic businesses, an artisan co-op (artisancoop.ca), and a sewing room/office. The Gravelbourg Artisan Co-op hosts a winter market in the former chapel and a summer market on the grounds. The chapel is rented out for community events, receptions, and weddings. It is a huge building that will take a special investor to repurpose. It is haunted by the most benign spirits. I'd like to think they're happy to have the company!

Testimonial By Matt

I went to school here. I visited in December and took some pictures. Very positive I have a couple of ghost pictures.