Profession cross of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal

In 1755, Mother d’Youville wanted to have silver crucifixes for the Sisters of her little community. In New France, it was very difficult to have works of gold and silversmith’s crafts. Consequently, Father Louis Normant, PSS (1681-1759), had to order the first twelve crosses from France.

An embossed heart representing the Sacred Heart appears above the figure of Christ, the heart of charity. Four fleurs-de-lis terminate the arms of the cross in acknowledgement of Louis XV, King of France, who approved the young community in New France by bestowing on them their Letters Patent.

Croix de profession
(The old cross: before 1981)
Collection of The Grey Nuns of Montreal 1999.041
The form of the cross has varied over the years. For example, the forms of the motifs have become more rounded, the corpus was raised up, and the fleurs-de-lis have become more indented and detailed. This style was in use until the General Chapter of 1981, when a new cross was accepted by the capitulants. While maintaining the old tradition “of the first mothers”, the new cross united the prevailing forms from the past and at the same time pointed towards the future with the figure of Christ being simplified almost to an abstract symbol.