Our Presence in Africa



In 1930, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus came to Africa. They first came to Nigeria through the invitation and strong persuasion of Most Rev Dr. Arthur Hinsley, Apostolic Visitor to Africa residing in Rome, after his visit to Nigeria and West Africa in 1929-1930. He acted on behalf of Bishop Joseph Shanahan CSSP, Vicar Apostolic of Southern Nigeria. As in the founding of the Society itself, the missioning of the SHCJ to Nigeria was by Papal and Episcopal invitation, Archbishop Arthur Hinsley being the Papal representative in the region.

The first three SHCJ missionaries to Nigeria, Mother Mary Edith Rudwick, Mother Mary Joachim Foerster and Mother Mary Laurentia Dalton, were Europeans and American, respectively. Mother Mary Amadeus Atchison, SHCJ Superior General, and Mother Mary Genevieve France, her First Assistant were Europeans. This international composition reflected the spirit of Cornelia who said: “I am cosmopolitan. The whole world is my country and heaven is my home” (CC). The Society lives and cherishes this internationality as a special gift of God which enables it to model the Church as the family of God in which all peoples and races find a welcome home.

They began work in Calabar in Nigeria and moved to Lagos, Jos, Bauchi, Abuja, Otukpo, Oghara, Agbaduma, Agulu, Portharcourt, Sapele and other parts of the country. In 1946, the Sisters went to Cape Coast in Ghana. They later spread to Takoradi, Bolgatanga, Accra, Walembele and Goaso. In 1992, they opened their first convent in Chad. They began work in Ndjamena and in 2011 another convent was opened in Sarh. The presence of the Society has also been felt in Brazil, Cameroun, Kenya and South Africa.