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JMJ World

Society of Jesus Mary Joseph - Around the World


The Seed Sown

As a consequence of the French Revolution when the Catholics were oppressed Fr.Mathias Wolff saw that the foundation of a Sister’s Congregation was a means to open up the road to liberty. In the course of time in 1819 two young girls, Maria Stichters aged 19 and Sophia Miltner aged 17 from Culemborg expressed their desire to Fr.Wolff to become nuns. A short time later the third one Lebuina van Elck approached him. They were sent to Ghent in Belgium to the Sisters of Notre Dame to be formed in religious life. A short time afterwards (1820-1821) four more candidates joined the little group at Ghent. The Congregation was founded on July 29, 1822 which was named as Society of Jesus Mary Joseph, also known as the Sisters of Blessed Virgin Mary which was known to the outside world Pedagogie Chretienne (Christian Education).

The Seed Grows Up

The first sisters, who were undergoing formation in Ghent, left for Holland in order to look out for a suitable location to commence the new foundation. Divine providence brought Miss van Werkhoven, an educated, intelligent and talented young lady to be admitted to the Society.

On June 10, 1823 the Christian Education got its approbation from the Archpriest of Utrecht and on 11th from the Archpriest of the province of Holland.

On June 24, 1823 a house was rented in the Muurhuizen (wall house) in Amersfoort for six years in the name of Miss Maria van Werkhoven and there the community of Christian Education was established.

On June 8, 1824 to ensure the continuation of the Institute with the government a legal acknowledgement was done by giving the name “Association van Werkhoven & Co”. It was on the same day eight of our Sisters took their religious vows for one year.

In 1828 Amersfoort was raised to the status of Mother house. By the year 1830 there were 6 convents ,i.e. Amersfoort, Engelen, Nijmegen, Zevenbergen, Vlijmen, and ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Very soon the Congregation spread out to the whole of the Nederlands under the efficient leadership of Supeiors General Mother Clara Lantman, Mother Adriana Pijpers and Mother Seraphine Pullens.

The needs were varied and so was the availability of the Sisters. Together with extending their services to the education of girls, which was their priority, apostolates like health care, Geriatrics, schools for mentally retarded, physically challenged, visually impaired etc. were taken up as and when the need arose as the request came from the Bishops of the Dioceses.

Superiors General through the Ages

Sr. Mathia Stichters (1828-1840)
Sr. Clara Lantman (1840 – 1856)
Sr. Adrienne Pijpers (1856 – 1875)
Sr. Seraphine Pullens (1875 - 1907)
Sr. Rose De Lima Moors (1907 – 1915)
Sr. Ignatine Stroomberg (1915 – 1923)
Sr. Stanislaus Terwindt (1923 – 1935)
Sr. Cantia Staal (1935 – 1952)
Sr. Daniella Swagemakers (1952 – 1960)
Sr. Maria de Montfort Janssen (1962 – 1975)
Sr. Louise van Laarhoven (1975 – 1987)
Sr. Benedict Melchers (1987 – 1999)
Sr. Cletus Manikathuparambil (1999 – 2005)
Sr. Theresia Supriyati (2005 - )

Branching Out

Indonesia: The mission in Indonesia began in 1898 with six Dutch missionaries. At present there are 3 Provinces namely Jakarta, Makassar and Manado with 284 Sisters working in 44 units in 11 islands.

Australia: The mission in Australia began in 1961 with three Dutch missionaries. From 1973 the Indian Province has been sending four of our Sisters (two Sisters for four years each).

In the course of time more and more catholic lay people got qualified and started teaching in the schools. Thus feeling that the purpose being fulfilled the Sisters moved out to different places, closing the history of JMJ in Australia by the end f 1982.

Tanzania: Nine JMJ Missionaries both from Holland and India landed in Tanzania, East Africa in 1961 and began education, health care and social apostolate. Later on due to the trend of nationalization and the exodus of the foreigners from Tanzania influenced our Society to call the Sisters back to Holland and India. So the JMJ Sisters prepared the local congregation to take over the apostolates and gradually phased out from Tanzania in 1972. The three convents of JMJs are handed over to three native congregations leaving for them all the assets- land, buildings, vehicles and even the bank balance so that the good work begun by us could be continued for the benefit of the people.

Ghana: The mission in Ghana started with five sisters in the year 1990 at Yeji as a joint venture of Indian & Indonesian missionaries. Realizing the need of the place we have spread into Attebubu, Kwasibuokrom (KBK) and Sambuli. It has become a region in 2009 Sep -8th on the feast of Mother Mary. At present 24 Sisters are working there in education, health care and social apostolates. The daughters of the soil has joined us to follow the Lord through the our Charism, now we have three novices and one postulant. The Ghana region celebrated its 25 years of god’s choicest blessing in the year 2015.

Italy: Our mission took root in Rome with six Dutch missionaries in 1931 to render service in Collegio Olandese. In 1985 six Indian missionaries replaced them. After 20 years of service when the college was closed down in 2005 our sisters returned to India. On October 31, 1999 we started a community of our own in Monte Scenario as a residence for the JMJ student Sisters and those working there (SEDOS). At present we have 6 sisters working in Rome.

Afghanistan: Three of our sisters worked in Afghanistan during the year 2007-08 in collaboration with the Jesuit Relief Service Centre.

Nepal: Sr. Anacleta Boreddy worked in Nepal up to September 2011, on return Sr. Amala Karnam went work with the refugees in Nepal. She returned for good in the year march 2013. They were working with JRS in Nepal.

New Mexico: Two of our sisters Rose Rani Pudota & Reena Jacob began their Mission in New Mexico on 02/09/2012 &09/08/2013 respectively. They are working in the St. Antony’s Indian school. Sister Rose Rani Pudota was replaced by Sister Swarnalatha Katakam

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