The nuns have always known how to do a lot with little means in order to be able to use the maximum of their resources for their work with the less fortunate. Nothing was wasted, whether it was food or material goods. They reused, recycled, repaired… Having taken a vow of poverty, minimalism, zero waste, etc. are concepts that they have always applied in their lives.
As part of Quebec’s Waste Reduction Week, here are some objects from the collections of the Grey Nuns of Montreal that demonstrate their inventiveness in this area.
This pattern was used in the making of a mitre for Mgr. Henri-Marie Dubreil de Pontbriand (1708-1760), sixth bishop of Quebec. The pattern is made from a cardboard that was used for writing exercises.
Embroidery stencil drawn on an old envelope:
Box given to Sister Julienne Massé (1926-2019) when she took the habit in 1950. Each novice received a similar box to store the thread, ribbons and needles, etc., to maintain their habits. The boxes were made by other nuns (with cigar boxes, among others) in the bookbinding workshop. Sister Massé, a few years after her profession, made similar boxes herself for the future novices: