On April 4, 1903 a weary group of four sisters of the Daughters of Jesus (Les Filles de Jesus) arrived in Sydney from France. They were welcomed by Father D.M. MacAdam of Sacred Heart Parish. Upon their arrival they resided with the Sisters of Congregation of Notre Dame at Holy Angels Convent. Within one month they established St. Anthony's Home and the first residents were an infant and a destitute elderly man. In 1917 infants and orphaned children were transferred to the care of the Sisters of St. Martha and St. Anthony's Home continued to care for the elderly. Six and a half decades passed during which many lives were touched by Les Filles de Jesus at St. Anthony's Home. Never was a knock on the door unanswered, never was a need made known but an attempt was made to meet it.
In 1967 a new facility owned and operated by MacGillivray Guest Home Society was built. The Sisters closed their building and transferred to the new home, volunteering their services in various departments and continuing their ministry to the elderly. Faced with advancing age and diminishing numbers, the Sisters withdrew from MacGillivray Guest Home and the community of Sydney in 1999. As we reflect on the presence of Les Fillles de Jesus we acknowledge their caring has made a difference to innumerable families and individuals who have been touched by their genuine love and concern. We were privileged to witness their ministry. May we be ever mindful of their pioneer spirit and exemplary work.
MacGillivray Guest Home was named as a tribute to Monsignor Ronald C. MacGillivray, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Sydney for twenty-nine years.
A native of St. Joseph's Antigonish county Ronald C. MacGillivray was ordained in 1903 and had a distinguished career of service both to his church and to his country. Serving as Chaplain in World War I, he became Honorary Major and received the Military Cross for heroic action at the battle of Amiens in 1918. As Military Chaplain in World War II with the Third Division, he achieved the rank of Honorary Brigadier. For distinguished service he was awarded the Efficiency Decoration and was honored as a Companion of the British Empire. He was named Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius X11, St. Francis Xavier University awarded him the Doctor of Laws, Horois Causa, and he served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Antigonish, and was elevated to Prothonary Apostolic by Pope John XX111. Despite the many honors accorded him, he remained a man of simplicity. His hospitality and generosity were legendary and he was highly motivated by his concern for truth and justice for all.