Sisterhoods, associations of women, in the Roman Catholic Church, devoted to the attainment of ascetic perfection and works of charity, and bound together by religious vows. SEE NUNS. Some of these congregations devote themselves exclusively, or in a very special manner, to hospital work, and the care of aged or infirm poor, orphans, and penitent women; others devote themselves entirely, or in a great degree, to the instruction of the young. Such associations of women date back as far as the 5th century, when we find mention made of them at Rome, Milan, and other chief cities of the Roman empire, as giving up their time and riches for the relief of the suffering poor. Of the many orders in the Church of Rome, some have already been given. SEE AUGUSTINIAN NUNS; SEE BENEDICTINE NUNS; SEE BRIGITTINES; SEE CALVARY, CONGREGATION OF OUR LADY OF; SEE CAPUCHINS; SEE CARMELITES; SEE CARTHUSIANS; SEE CHARITY, SISTERS OF; SEE CISTERCIAN NUNS; SEE CLARE,
ST., NUNS OF; SEE CROSS, ORDERS OF THE; SEE DOMINICAN NUNS; SEE ELIZABETHINES; SEE GENEVIEVE, ST., DAUGHTERS OF; SEE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY, NUNS OF THE; SEE JESUS, SACRED HEART OF, CONGREGATION OF; SEE MINIMS; SEE NOTRE DAME, CONGREGATION OF; SEE PROVIDENCE, NUNS OF; SEE SCHOOL SISTERS; SEE SHEPHERD, ORDER OF THE GOOD.
Of the very many orders of these sisterhoods we here mention the following:
1. Adoration, Perpetual, Sisters of. — This order was founded at Avignon by Antoine Lequien, a Dominican friar, in 1639, and in 1659 the first regular house was established at Marseilles. The members follow the rule of Augustine, and wear the Dominican habit. They continued to be a congregation until 1674, when they were raised to an order, and placed under the jurisdiction of Marseilles. After the suppression of the convents in France, some fled to Rome and others were condemned to die, but escaped through the death of Robespierre. They returned to Marseilles in 1816, and in 1836 erected a new convent. There are five houses of this order in France, viz. at Marseilles, Bollene, Aix, Avignon, and Carpentras.
2. Adoration Reparatrice, Congregation of the, was founded at Paris in 1848, with the object of making reparation for the many evils existing in the world and Church. It was approved by pope Pius IX in 1853, and special privileges were granted for the dispensing of indulgences, etc. With this Congregation is associated another, that of the Oeuvres des Tabernacles. It has only one house, located in Paris.
3. Agnes, St., The Sisters of. — This order was founded at Arras in 1636 by Jeanne Biscot, and was specially engaged in hospital work. It escaped entire destruction in the Revolution, and was reestablished by Napoleon. It had in the United States in 1890 (see Sadlier, Catholic Directory) 11 convents and about 215 sisters.
4. Ann, St., Daughters of. — This order was founded in 1848 by the bishop of Montreal, and has its motherhouse at Lachine, with 343 sisters and novices. It had in 1891 (see Sadlier, Catholic Directory) 83 sisters, 11 schools, and about 50 pupils in the United States, 19 houses in the diocese of Montreal, and 8 in Vancouver's Island and British Columbia.
5. Assumption, Daughters of the, called also Haudriettes, were founded by Etienne Haudry in the time of St. Louis of France. Their habit consists of a blue dress and mantle, a sash of white linen, and a scapulary. A new convent building was erected during the last century in Paris which was called the Convent of the Assumption, from which the order has taken its name. It has in British America 12 convents, 77 sisters and novices, and teaches about 1390 pupils (see Sadlier, Catholic Directory, 1891);. and in the U.S. 2 convents and 27 sisters.
6. Augustine, Sisters of, a congregation of Hospitallers, were founded at Arras in 1178. Their house was broken up in 1550, but reopened in 1563 as the Hospital of St. John. They experienced much persecution during the Revolution; but in 1810 they were reorganized, with a slight change of their rules.
7. Calvary, Daughters of. — This congregation was founded at Genes, France, by Virginie Centurion, in, 1619, and approved by pope Pius VII in 1815. Gregory XVI bestowed upon it a yearly endowment. The work of this order is similar to that of the Order of St. Vincent de Paul, with the exception that the Daughters are employed only in hospitals, and do not attend the sick at their homes. They are also called Brignole Sisters.
8. Childhood of Jesus, Sisters of the, were founded in Rome, Oct. 15, 1835, by canon Triest, and on July 20, 1836, recognized as a regular religious community. Their special object is to care for poor and sick children under ten years of age. They have only one house, situated at Rome.
9. Cross, Holy, Sisters of the, have their motherhouse at Le Mans, France. They have a convent at St. Laurent, near Montreal, with 171 sisters and novices; and in the United States (see Sadlier, Cath. Directory, 1891), 7 convents, 175 sisters, 33 schools, with 512 pupils, and 5 asylums, etc., with 150 inmates.
10. Cross, our Lady of the, Sisters of, were founded by M. Buisson at Murinais, Grenoble, France, in 1832. Their constitution was approved by the bishop of Grenoble, and they had in 1859, 6 establishments and 97 sisters.
11. Father, Eternal, Sisters of the. — This order was founded at Vannes, France, by Jeanne de Queler, in the latter part of the 17th century. It was only a secular community until 1701, when the bishop of Vannes gave it a regular constitution. It was the sole order in Brittany in, which the perpetual adoration was established. It is not now in existence.
12. Holy Family, Sisters of the. — This congregation was founded by Madame Rivier about 1827, and was in reality an outgrowth of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. It has in the United States (see Sadlier, Cath. Directory, 1891) 3 convents, with 26 sisters.
13. Holy Names, Sisters of the, were founded in 1843 in the diocese of Montreal, and have their headquarters at Longueil. They have in the diocese 12 houses, 511 sisters, novices, etc., and 2839 pupils; in the diocese of St. Hyacinth, 2 houses, with 232 pupils; in the diocese of Sandwich, 3 houses, with 865 pupils; and in the United States, 15 houses, with 2990 pupils (see Sadlier, Cath. Directory, 1891).
14. Humility of Mary, Sisters of the. — There is a convent of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary at New Bedford, Pa., which had (according to Barnum, Romanism as It Is) 18 sisters, 8 pupils, and 20 orphans; also communities at Newburg, Louisville, and Harrisburg, O. Beyond this no information is given, except that they how have in the United States (Sadlier, Cath. Directory, 1891) 3 houses, 120 sisters, and 400 pupils.
15. Incarnate Word, Sisters of the, have in the United States (Sadlier, Cath. Directory, 1891) 6 houses, 179 sisters, and 400 pupils.
16. Jesus, Daughters of, founded in 1820 by the bishop of Cahors, France, and recognized by the government in 1853. Their vows are taken annually for the first eight years of their profession, after which they are taken for five years.
17. Jesus, the Child, Sisters of, founded at Paris by Nicolas Barre in 1678. They are dependent on their superiors for their support, not even being allowed to dispose of any property without their consent. They are engaged in teaching from place to place under the direction of their superiors. They confess twice a week before the assembled community. There are several of these establishments in France. In the United States (see Sadlier, Cath. Directorya) in 1891 they had 3 houses, with 71 sisters and 75 pupils.
18. Jesus and Mary, Sisters of. — This congregation was founded in Lyons, France, in 1816, by Andre Coindre, assisted by Mlle. Claudine Thevenet. The Sisters employ themselves in the education of young children. A branch establishment was founded in Puy, Haute Loire, in 1822; and in 1842 sisters went to Hindostan, and founded schools in several cities. In 1849 they founded an establishment in Barcelona, Spain, from which have arisen several others. In 1854 they came to America, and opened a school in Quebec, in which diocese they have 4 houses, with 102 sisters and novices, and 643 pupils. In the United States they haven 5 houses, 47 religions, and 1101 pupils (see Sadlier, Cuth. Directory).
19. St. John of Penitence, Sisters of. — The two monasteries of this name were founded in Spain by cardinal Ximenes, the one at Alcala in 1504, and the other at Toledo in 1511. Pope Leo X approved the order in 1514, and granted it liberal benefices, which were increased by Philip II. The house at Alcala was removed to Madrid, and transferred from the Franciscan rule to that of the Augustines.
20. St. Joseph, Sisters of. — This order was founded at Puy, France, by father Medaille, in 1650, confirmed by the bishop of the diocese in 1661, and received the royal sanction in 1665. In 1667 an Asylum of Penitence was established in connection therewith. Another congregation was founded at Bourg in 1823. The principal house is at Clermont. In the United States the order has (see Sadlier, Cath. Directory, 1891), 85 houses, with 1335 sisters and novices; 77 schools, with 7847 pupils; and 21 asylums, etc., with about 2400 inmates.
21. St. Louis, Sisters of, an order founded in 1808 by Madame Malesherbes and her daughter, Madame Mole. There are four establishments, devoted to instruction and religious contemplation.
22. St. Madeleine, Sisters of. — This order was founded at Strasburg in 1225, and approved by pope Gregory IX in 1257. It is under the Augustinian rule. In 1474, during the wars, it was broken up, and the buildings destroyed. The order was afterwards restored, and largely beneficed by the pope. In 1523, so greatly had its income increased that the magistrates obliged it to contribute largely of its revenue for civil purposes, and in 1525 its entire income was confiscated.
23. St. Martha, Sisters of, an order that was founded in 1813 by Mlle. Edwige de Vivier at Romans. In 1815 it was settled into a community, having had a house built for its accommodation. It was confirmed by the government in 1826, and in 1848 had 30 establishments and about 4500 sisters.
24. St. Martha, Sisters of, at Perigueux, founded in 1643, and approved by the bishop in 1650. In 1701 a general hospital was established, and another in 1711. During the Revolution the Sisters were nearly destroyed, being expelled from their house. Afterwards they were allowed to return, but in 1839 took possession of a new convent. At present they have 30 houses. Another branch of this order, called the Sisters of the Orphans, was founded at Gras in 1831. It has 9 houses and about 45 sisters.
25. Modesty, Sisters of, founded at Venice about 1573 by Dejanara Valmarana, under the rule of St. Francis. Their employment consists in teaching, visiting the poor, and religious exercises. They have several houses.
26. Nativity of our Lord, Sisters of the, founded at Crest, France, in 1813, and a second house at Valence in 1814. The order was approved by the king in 1826, and by pope Pius IX in 1855.
27. Nativity of the Virgin, Sisters of the, founded at Saint-Germain-en- Laye, France, in 1818. They are under the Augustinian rule, and devote themselves to the education of girls, having a large boarding school. They have also a free school for poor children.
28. Nazareth, Holy Family of, Sisters of the, founded in 1851. Their object is principally to prepare girls for vocations by religious instruction. They were approved by the bishop in 1855. Another house, Notre Dame of Nazareth, was founded at Marseilles about 1840 by brother Olivier. It was established for the purpose of instructing slave girls purchased in the markets of the Levant. The Society of Ladies of Nazareth was formed at Montmirail, France, in 1822. In 1853 the Ladies founded a house at Nazareth, in Palestine. They now have three houses.
29. Paul, St., Daughters of, founded at Treguier, France, in 1699. Their several establishments were broken up during the Revolution, and their convents are now occupied by the Ursulines.
30. Paul, St., Hospital Sisters of, called Sisters of St. Maurice de Chartres, were founded in 1690, reestablished in 1808, and approved by the government, and also by an imperial edict, in 1811. They had in 1859
38 establishments in the diocese of Chartres, and 67 in the remainder of France; in England, 9 houses, and 1 in Hong Kong.
31. Paul, St., Sisters of. — This congregation was founded at Angouleme, France, in 1826, and was under the Franciscan rule. The Sisters are sometimes called Ladies of Doyenne, and have three houses in France.
32. Philippines, Oblate Sisters of, were founded at Rome by Rutilio Brandi in 1620, and confirmed by Urban VIII. The object of the sisterhood was the education of poor girls, and they were under a cardinal protector.
33. Philomene, St., Sisters of, were established at Poitiers, France, in 1835, and approved in 1838. They founded a small agricultural college for boys, and in 1859 had about 56 sisters.
34. Poor, Little Sisters of the, were founded at Saint-Servan, Brittany, by the abbe Le Pailleur in 1840. Much opposed at first, they soon opened houses in all the cities of France. They were approved by Pius IX, July 9, 1854, and recognized by the French government in 1856. In 1868 they came to Brooklyn, N.Y., and now have houses in Cincinnati, New Orleans, Baltimore, St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, Louisville, and Boston. There is another community, styled Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, which originated at Aix-la-Chapelle in the present century, and came to the United States in 1857. They have many establishments in the large cities.
35. Presentation, Sisters of the. — Under this general name were several congregations. That of Notre Dame, founded in the diocese of Digne, France, by Mgr. Miolliss, bishop of Digne, was recognized by royal ordinance in 1826. In 1859 they had 3 establishments and 100 sisters.
36. Presentation of the Virgin, Sisters of the. — This order was founded at Tours, France, in 1684 by Marie Poussepin. It has been a flourishing community, having a large number of establishments, with about 1200 sisters, who are chiefly engaged in hospital work. The Presentation of Mary was founded at Bourg Saint-Andeol, France, by Madame Rivier, in 1796, and approved by Gregory XVI in 1836. Several other establishments exist in France. In 1853 an establishment was formed at Sainte-Marie-de- Monnoir, Canada, which has now (1891) in the diocese of St. Hyacinth, 12 houses, 129 sisters, and 2065 pupils. Of the Order of the Presentation there are in the United States 13 houses, 96 sisters, and 1000 pupils.
37. Savior, Good, Sisters of the, were founded at Caen, Normandy, in 1720, by two poor girls, who in 1730 opened asylums for homeless children and others. They were suppressed in 1789, but persevered in their labor until May 22, 1805, when 15 sisters met in community. They were charged with the care of insane women in 1817, and soon after with that of insane men. In 1874 the mother house numbered 300 sisters, and upwards of 1000 insane patients. They have 3 establishments — Albi, Pont l'Abbe, and Brucourt. In Canada, the care of the insane at Quebec devolved on the Sisters of the general hospital till 1844.
38. Solitaires, nuns of the Order of St. Peter of Alcantara, instituted by cardinal Barberini in 1670. They imitate the austere practices of their patron saint, observe perpetual silence, and employ their time wholly in spiritual exercises; they go barefoot, gird themselves with a cord round the waist, and wear no linen.
39. Trinity, Holy, Sisters of the, founded at Valence, France, by mother Andrean de Sainte-Esprit in 1685. The congregation suffered much during the Revolution, but was not expelled from its home. In 1837 it received the royal approval, since which time it has largely increased in establishments and numbers.
40. Union, Christian, Sisters of, founded at Fontenay-le-Comte, France, by Madame Polaillon in 1652, and confirmed by the archbishop of Paris in the same year. This order is under the protection of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Dispersed by the Revolution, the Sisters were authorized, to reunite themselves into a community. The order is very flourishing, having houses in many of the provinces of France.
41. Virgin, Holy, Sisters of the, or Ladies of Budes, an order founded at Rennes, France, in 1676, and authorized by Louis XIV in 1678. It was founded for the reception of girls who had been converted from Calvinism to the Church of Rome, but has not grown much since the general decline of the Reformation in France.
See Appletons' American Cyclop. s.v.; Barnum, Romanism as It Is; Migne, Dict. des Ordres Religieux, vol. 1-4; Sadlier, Catholic Directory, 1879.