In January 2006, recognizing the importance of offering women in their region a new home and shelter against domestic violence, some women from Haute-Yamaska and the surrounding area joined forces to set up the haven Maison Alice-Desmarais.

The organization was named in honor of Mrs. Alice Desmarais. It is for her contribution to the community that we wanted to honor her by giving her name to the shelter and haven for women or mothers living with domestic violence.

From the earliest days of Maison Alice-Desmarais, women living in violent relationships had access to external services, that is to say, they received help without being housed. Then, the involvement of five volunteers and a team of caregivers helped to accommodate the first women and children in April 2008.

Confirming the many needs of women in the area, even before the house opened, requests for accommodation were pouring in and the occupancy rate was 87% after only six months.

Maison Alice-Desmarais ensures an active presence in the community to make the resource known and raise awareness about the issue of violence and its many impacts for women and abused children as well as for the community. Since its creation, the organization has relied on partnerships to counter domestic violence in a lasting way.

In a short time, Maison Alice-Desmarais has become an essential actress in the region of Haute-Yamaska for the improvement of the living conditions of women with or without children.

Who is Madame Alice Desmarais?

Alice Desmarais was born in Massachusetts in 1906. She studied nursing at Saint-Charles Hospital, now called Honoré-Mercier Hospital in Saint-Hyacinthe. Graduated in 1933, she first practiced in business clinics and then in private services to finally open a Private Maternity Ward in 1938, a small hospital entirely dedicated to parturient women, of which she assumed the direction until 1941.

Her experience in emergency response, acquired mainly in the United States and in the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Hospital in Sherbrooke, will allow her to participate in the organization of operating rooms at the Hospital of Granby from its opening in 1945.

After marrying Mr. Oliva Robert in 1946, she left Quebec to live in Sudbury, Ontario, where she practiced for a decade. After the death of her husband, she will return to Granby and occupy an administrative function at Foyer Notre-Dame, later known as Hôpital Notre-Dame.

Alice Desmarais Robert will be dedicated to the care of the chronically ill people until her retirement in 1973. She died on April 10, 1997, at the age of 90. Ms. Desmarais was dedicated to the human being and believed in the potential of everyone to take control of their lives.

A woman of heart and resolute character, she was probably a feminist at heart for setting up the first hospital for women’s care at a time when women had little social power. It is for all her contribution to the Granby community that we wanted to honor her by giving her name to this home and shelter dedicated to abused women with or without children.