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Sister Lesley was educated at
St. Ignatius School, St. Mary’s Academy and the University of Manitoba.

“ With hope filled imagination, let us draw near to those who are broken-hearted and oppressed. They are our leaders. Their smiles and courage point the way.”

                               S. Lesley

In 1963, Sister Lesley entered the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) and moved to Winnipeg’s inner city in 1970, a move that profoundly changed her life. In 1976, Sister Lesley, along with Sister Geraldine MacNamara, co-founded Rossbrook House, a neighbourhood center that strives to ensure that “No child who does not want to be alone should ever have to be”.  In addition to her work in the inner city, Sister Lesley taught for 17 years at Holy Cross School, St. John Brebeuf School, Sir Maurice Roche in Flin Flon, St. Ignatius School and Hugh John Macdonald School. In 1977, Sister Lesley opened, within Rossbrook House, Eagles’ Circle, a public, alternative school program for junior high students.

In 1990, she helped start Anishinaabe Oway-Ishi, an educational, employment training program for Indigenous youth and in 1997 helped found Esther House, a safe home for women recovering from addiction. Sister Lesley currently serves as Executive Coordinator of Holy Names House of Peace, a refuge in the heart of Winnipeg, a life affirming home for newcomer women. Most recently, Sister Lesley helped launch Marie Rose Place, affordable apartments for newcomer women and their children.


  • Served from 2002 – 2016 on The Winnipeg Foundation, Canada’s oldest and second largest community foundation

  • Served on the Board of UNANIMA International, an NGO working for Human Right s at the United Nations in New York

  • Served on the Board of Anishinaabe Oway-Ishi

  • Is a founding and present board member of Esther House

  • Serves on the Law Society’s Access to Justice Steering Committee - Public Representative

  • Is a regular guest speaker


  • 1999 - Named a member of the Maclean’s Honour Roll

  • 2000 – Featured in Extraordinary, Ordinary Women

  • 2004 – Received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the

University of Winnipeg

  • 2005 – Received St. Mary’s Academy Marian Award

  • 2012 – Received Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee  Medal

  • 2013 – Received the Caring Canadian Award, a Sovereign’s Medal for

  • 2015 – Received St. Paul’s High School Ignatian Challenge Award

  • 2017 – Received the University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni

                Award for Community Service

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