175th Celebration in the European Province

The oak tree, on the second terrace of the garden at St Leonards, was planted as a mere sapling by [Cornelia], who speaking to us at the time, said “When we are gone, those who come after us will be able to sit under its branches. Will they remember & speak of Us?”. [sic]

(1846 – 76 Annals, collected and rewritten by Theophila Laprimandaye SHCJ) (slightly adapted)

In marking the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Society, the European province will use The Tree as our main focus.


Trees are often used as symbols for a group or an institution and it is easy to employ images of roots, branches, fruits and so on. The planting of trees is also widely recognised today as important in the struggle to combat climate change. So, the symbol of the tree enables us both to look back across 175 years of Society history and to mark in the present our concern for the future.

In our celebration we will remember three stages of the tree’s growth:


The Society was founded in Derby in 1846. To remember and commemorate the place where the Society was first planted, we are planting 1846 in Derby. The trees will be planted 28-30 November, during National Tree Week. Our trees will form part of a larger plantation in the centre of three housing estates about a mile and a half from the city centre, creating a green space for local residents.


We have arranged for 2021 trees to be planted in Harrogate, England, where the Society has had a presence for years. They will be a distinct copse, forming part of a woodland scheme close to the Harrogate ringway, which will have public access. It is expected that this copse will be planted in January/February 2021. A single tree will also be planted in the grounds of our care home Apley Grange, possibly during the province chapter.


We have made a gift of 175 trees to each of the schools in the network. Each school is asked to help them get to know the history of their own school and the significance of Holy Child – and of particular sisters – in its establishment and continuance.

We will also make a gift of 175 trees to each of the other groups that is represented on the province’s 175 committee (Associates, Hopsa and a small group of friends of the province).

We will reach out to the other two provinces in the Society, who also trace their roots back to that tiny tree planted in Derby in 1846 to offer them a gift of 175 trees.

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