“In 1765, Marguerite d’Youville, founder of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, acquired the seigneury of Chateauguay to become its last seigneuress. For more than 200 years, the Grey Nuns lived on the island and protected the territory. The nuns established an orchard and a dairy farm in addition to growing wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat and vegetables. “Protecting life in all its forms”, the Grey Nuns’ adage, made it possible to preserve an exceptional natural territory, the Marguerite-D’Youville wildlife refuge, protected in perpetuity.” (source: Héritage Saint-Bernard)
Safeguarding the environment is very important to the Grey Nuns of Montreal. As early as the 1970s, discussions were held to have most of St. Bernard Island transformed into a wildlife refuge. Now owned by the city of Chateauguay, the island is open to the public and continues the Sisters’ desire to protect this magnificent space where it is possible to observe, among other things, foxes, deer and a large number of bird species, all close to Montreal.