The letter in the Catholic Register newspaper was read by Sister Mary Josephine Mulligan, a Grey Sister of the Immaculate Conception of Pembroke, Ontario and not only was Sister in agreement with the ideas expressed, but she herself had also felt an inspiration to establish just such a Community, for the good of the Church. It seemed that Divine Providence wanted to establish this new religious family under the care of both a Mother and a Father.
Once Sister Mary Josephine began to correspond with Father Ryan, he invited her to come to Guelph where she could begin the establishment of the new community in his Parish of Our Lady Immaculate. Sister spoke to her superiors in Pembroke of her desire. They regretted that she wished to withdraw from the Grey Sisters' Community. In time, they granted permission, as did the Bishop of Pembroke. Permission was also sought from the Bishop of Hamilton, Bishop Paul Reding, who readily gave his approval.
Foundation in Guelph
Always, Sister kept in mind the ideal of a fervent community of sisters, faithfully living their vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience. They would be obedient to the Magisterium of the Church, and would have as their principal apostolate the teaching of catechism.
During the months following Sister Mary Josephine's arrival, inquiries and visits began from young women interested in religious life. They spoke with Mother and with Father Ryan. In the autumn of 1978 the first young woman entered as a candidate. Others followed in the months to come. A special gift from Our Lord was the arrival of Sister St. Henry Moloney in 1981, another Grey Sister of Pembroke, who would help Sister Mary Josephine in the new Foundation. Both sisters knew each other well, having been on Mission together in the Dominican Republic in the 1950's and shared the desire to help build up the Church by fidelity to their vowed lives out of love for Christ.
Mission in Port Hood, Nova Scotia
Foundress and Founder Called Home
Having fulfilled the Lord's call to help found the new SOLI Community, the growth and ongoing work was now to be left to Father Ryan and Mother Mary Josephine's spiritual children. On June 9, 1996, the Feast of Corpus Christi, Mother Mary Josephine was unexpectedly called home by God. Sister St. Henry Moloney became the community's new Superior General, guiding the fledgling Order for the next twelve years. In the year 2000, with the blessing of Father Ryan, Mother St. Henry, wishing to fulfill our Foundress' desire to adapt the community's habit to a more traditional style, helped to design the sisters' new habit complete with Our Lady's scapular and holy rosary.
Our Lady Immaculate Formation House
In 2005, Our Lady Immaculate Formation House was opened in Glen Morris, Ontario and blessed by His Excellency, Bishop Anthony F. Tonnos, Bishop of Hamilton. In 2007, Mother St. Henry, stepped down as Superior General because of age and Mother Dorothy Nzekwe, a native of Nigeria and first superior of the mission in Port Hood, was elected to succeed her.
SOLI House of Studies
Invitation to Catechize in Two Parishes in Kitchener, Ontario
In 2009, the Pastor of St. Aloysius Parish in Kitchener asked the Sisters to direct and staff the catechetical program for their children in public schools.