Our Presence in Europe

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The Society of the Holy Child Jesus was founded in Europe – in Derby, England – in October 1846 by Cornelia Connelly, who was an American. So, from the very beginning, even as the first convent was opened in England, we were aware of the wider world.

During Cornelia’s lifetime, sisters were sent from England to establish new works in France and in the United States. Convents were also opened up and down England, from the south to the north. Wherever the sisters went they engaged in the ministry of education; they opened schools, worked in parishes, taught factory girls in night schools, and educated other women to be teachers too.

Today – almost 160 years later – we still focus on education; whatever ministries we engage in our concern is always to help people grow strong in faith and live fully human lives. About 80 members of the Society live and work in Europe. Among us are women from France, Germany and Switzerland, though most of us are British or Irish, and it is in England and Ireland that we have most of our houses.