Conway, Honoria (Sister Mary Vincent) (1815–92), Sister of Charity, foundress, and educator, was born 18 June 1815 in Dover Castle, Isle of Wight, England, youngest of three children (one son and two daughters) of Sgt Michael Conway of the Galway Militia, Galway, and Eleanor Conway (née McCarthy) of Inchigeela, Co. Cork. The family returned home to their small holding in the Poolboy area of Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, where the children received their education at Miss Rose Tully's private catholic school. Honoria emigrated (1837) to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada; some years later she moved to Nova Scotia, but returned to Saint John in 1852, where she worked in an orphanage. Dr Thomas Louis Connolly, bishop of Fredericton, New Brunswick, failed to secure Sisters of Charity from New York to open catholic free schools in Saint John. These sisters, however, gave some training in religious life to Honoria Conway and a companion who entered the order on 14 October 1853. They received the religious habit 7 March 1854.
A cholera epidemic broke out in Saint John on 23 June 1854. In response to an appeal by Dr Connolly for sisters to care for Irish immigrant children orphaned by this epidemic, Honoria Conway volunteered to return to Saint John in August to work in the recently opened orphanage for thirty boys. She founded the Sisters of Charity of Saint John when she and three companions were professed by Dr Connolly (21 October 1854). By 1857 they became known as the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception. Honoria, who took the religious name Sister Mary Vincent, was appointed superior.
The sisters managed orphanages, established free schools, select day- and boarding-schools, and Sunday religious-instruction schools, nursed sick children, and undertook visitation of the sick and poor in their own homes. The education act of 1858, dealing with parish schools, guaranteed £14 per teacher to the owner or authority of such schools. The sisters fulfilled the requirements and so became eligible for the government grant. Convents were founded in Portland (3 June 1857) and in Acadian French-speaking Madawaska (December 1857), where young girls were trained to become teachers in the surrounding primary schools, in Fredericton (1858), and in the Acadian district of Clare, Nova Scotia (1864). In 1857 the new congregation and its rule were approved by Pope Pius IX. The institute remained diocesan for the first sixty years of its existence; then convents were founded in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; Edmonton, Alberta; and British Columbia, establishing hospitals, schools and orphanages.
Mother M. Vincent remained the superior of the community until 1862. The termination of her superiorship may have been due to the defection of one of the founding sisters and two postulants in December 1861. This sister (who had previously entered two other convents) and her two companions spread stories of deprivation and persecution. Mother M. Vincent refused to take them back into the community. There is no record as to whether her resignation was voluntary or demanded by the archbishop. She was appointed local superior of the convent in Fredericton from 1862 to 1882 and taught in the school. In 1882 she returned to Saint Vincent's Convent at the age of 67, where she remained for the last ten years of her life. Mother M. Vincent Conway died 27 May 1892, aged 76.