11 School of Industry Mission

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School of Industry Saint-Joseph-de-la-Delivrance, Levis, Quebec

(Saint-Joseph of the Rescue)

The School of Industry Hospice Institute (1949) Saint-Joseph-de-la-Deliverance, was run by the Sisters of Charity of Quebec and welcomed girls since 1870. They agreed to take care of boys in a separate wing in 1883. Residents were mostly of French-Canadian origin.

Before that date, a growing number of boys in the region of Quebec who were considered ‘in need of protection‘ suffered from a lack of industrial schools and because Montreal institutions at that time were already overloaded.

Boys and girls under the law were institutionalized by a judge, but over the years the law allowed that parent support services such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul sometimes acted as intermediaries. They may place their own children, but under the law the children must be considered orphaned, neglected, abandoned, abused or strayed.

A large number of youth in the region of Quebec fit this description since the Industrial School Hospice Saint-Joseph-de-la-Delivrance was at times filled to capacity. During the economic crisis of the 1930s, more than 600 children whose average age was 11 years were packed tightly.

If the law was aimed at children aged 6-12 or 14 years, depending on the period, we find as in other institutions in the region of Quebec, it is the youngest children who were placed. Presumably these were the younger brothers or sisters lawfully placed, or those whose families do not know what to do.

PLACEMENT PATTERNS

Like most children in the institution that still have both parents, it seems clear that the placement patterns followed especially family whose original environment was at the poverty level, or at the level that was then associated with neglect or violence.

Boys and girls were in primary classes or additional courses depending on their status and the duration of their placement. Since the boys had to leave at age 12, most followed the classes of primary school. When old enough, the boys could learn the basics of a manual trade, following those offered in the institution. For girls, there would be additional housekeeper training.

Moreover, if the laws allowed the placement of young people in learning outside of the institution, the nuns rarely used industry or schools reforms from the network of public welfare institutions or public welfare confinements implemented from 1869.

The remaining schools became schools of youth protection in 1950. The daily management of these schools, however, was entrusted to Catholic religious congregations.

Services for young Anglo-Protestants do not exist in Quebec City. These should, where necessary, be transferred to other institutions in the province. The provincial government, the host institution and the municipality of residence of young people are responsible for providing boarding fees of children in varying proportions according to changes in laws. The amount of these boarding fees are determined on a monthly basis. The leaders of these schools still often resort to private charities to maintain services.

The responsibility of these schools was often left to scratch out private donations to survive and maintain their services (annual reports of the Inspector of Prisons and Orphanages of Quebec, 1869-1914.  Statistical Report of Punitive Establishments of Quebec, 1914-1930.  Annual Statistics of Quebec, 1930-1950,  St-Pierre et al, 1998.)

Joyce

Joyce Derenas is a historical fiction author who writes stories based on the real lives of her French-Canadian ancestors of the Beauce Valley in Quebec.