The Little Sisters of the Holy Family is a religious order founded by Mother Leonie Paradis in 1880. Marie Léoni was born in l’Acadie, near Saint-Jean, Québec in 1840. At 14 years old she became a postulant in the order the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She was sent to Meramcook, New Brunswick in 1874 to help establish a new foundation. It was there, inspired by Martha in the Gospel, that she founded the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, a community dedicated to serving the clergy.
At the request of the late Rev. J. Lefebvre, O.M.I., Provincial, and cousin of the late Rev. Camille Lefebvre, C.S.C., co-founder of the Congregtion of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, Mother Leonie accompanied Sr. Marie du Saint-Sacrement, Sr. Sainte-Bernadette, Sr. Saint-Sebastien and Sr. Saint-Denis and arrived in Lowell, on August 30, 1900 to take charge of the domestic work at St. Jean Baptiste Rectory, thus establishing the Congregation’s first mission in Massachusetts. As other Oblate parishes were established in Lowell the Little Sisters were found in most of them.
Mother Leonie died on May 3, 1912. She was beatified in Montreal, Canada, on September 11, 1984 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
As of February 2007, three members of the congregation remain in the area and these tend to the domestic needs of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Tewksbury, MA.