Irene Carter was born in Montreal on September 30, 1897. She and three of her siblings gave their lives to the Church: Bishop Alex Carter, Mother Mary Carter RSCJ and G. Emmet Cardinal Carter. Irene entered the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul on January 9, 1916. She made first profession on December 22, 1917 and took the name Sr. Mary Lenore.
As a newly professed sister, she finished her education and received her teaching certificate. She taught every grade from kindergarten to thirteen across Eastern Ontario. She continued to study while teaching and received a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University in 1937 and a Master of Arts in English Literature from the University of Ottawa in 1949. She was appointed principal of St. Michel’s High School, Belleville, in 1938. During her 21 years as Principal she increased the academic options offered by the school, and established the Parent-Teacher Association.
Sr. M. Lenore was very involved in several teachers’ associations throughout her career. She advocated for a values-based curriculum and for equal pay of religious and lay teachers. She was President of the Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association (OECTA), and was the first religious to be president of the Ontario Teacher’s Federation. She gained recognition for religious teachers in Canada through her 1959 paper “The Contribution of Roman Catholic Teaching Communities to Education in Canada” published by the Canadian College of Teachers. In 1961, she was named a Fellow of the Canadian College of Teachers and a Fellow of the Ontario Teacher’s Federation in 1964. In 1966, OECTA awarded her a life membership in OECTA.
She served as First Assistant of the Congregation from 1959 to 1965 and as General Superior from 1965 to 1971. As General Superior, she led the congregation through a time of renewal after the Second Vatican Council and expanded the congregation’s geographical reach by founding missions in Guatemala and Peru in 1967.
In 1969, she was the first woman religious to be President of the Canadian Religious Conference, Ontario Branch. Sister served as local superior in Belleville from 1971 until 1977, when she moved to retreat ministry until her retirement in 1985. She died on July 5, 1990 at Providence Motherhouse in Kingston, Ontario.