Religious Communities for Women
Chapter 7:


Brignoles, France

Historical Origin

Founded at the beginning of the 19th century by a priest from Toulouse, M. Vincent, our Congregation of the Holy Name of Jesus has as its purpose Catholic education of girls and young women.  In 1885, our predecessors became Tertiaries in the Order of St. Dominic.  Having participated at the new drafting of our Constitutions, approved by Rome in 1953, the Rev. Father Calmel, O.P. helped spiritually a group of 26 Sisters who wanted to remain faithful to Tradition, notwithstanding the conciliar upset.  They installed themselves in the South of France and are now helped by the Society of Saint Pius X. The congregation now has five schools in France and is preparing to open a new school in Argentina.

Rev. Fr Calmel (+ May 3, 1975)

Handmaids of the Lord

By grace alone, the Lord has called us to belong exclusively to Him, and the Church has consecrated us to Our Lord and to His Kingdom as His humble spouses.  It is necessary that our affective faculties should be taken completely by the Lord and by our work with the young Christians as He confides to us.

We are brides of the Lord who not only have the mission of praying, but have also received from the Church the mission of instructing and educating young Christian women.  As a result, our prayer life is in harmony with that mission.

Personal Sanctification and Service of our Neighbor through Teaching

Love of our neighbor is part of love of God.  If, by religion vows, one is dedicated to teaching, one will not be sanctified apart from this work.  Our sanctification therefore does not neglect or consider as nothing the service we commit ourselves to accomplish among young Christians through the work of teaching and educating.

Bishop Fellay with Mo. Marie François, in 1991

Daughter of the Church

That which is asked of all Christians and that which is asked more especially of those who have an explicit and definite mandate from the Church, is to believe in the life of the Church, to be persuaded that the Church gives them life and cooperate with all their strength to the development of that life.  It is a sin to draw back.

The Church is magnificent, beautiful and holy.  Will we not allow the Church to manifest its beauty and its holiness in us?  Can we accept that worldly churchmen conceal the Church from us?  Can we accept that the worldly spirit that is still in us prevent us from living more and more of the life of the Church?

The Cross of Jesus and the Teaching Mission

We are not asked to go and seek the Cross.  We are asked to go and meet Jesus Christ by the rectitude of our life; if we are faithful, the Cross will inevitably come to meet us.  Our way of life exposes us to the maneuvers of those who do not accept the influence of Church in temporal affairs, to the criticisms and intrigues of those who seek, in temporal affairs, an impossible agreement between the spirit of the world and the spirit of the Gospels and of the Church.

Consecration to God in a Temporal Work

We enter religious life for our sanctification.  Could it be that we become sisters for selfish purposes?  Certainly not.  When we say that we enter for our sanctification, that means one thing only: we enter for God.  Our sanctification consists in being united to the Lord Jesus; this does not imply that we refuse to concern ourselves with our neighbor, but that we do not want to occupy ourselves thus, except for Him and in Him.

We did not enter indiscriminately any congregation, but deliberately a teaching congregation because we believe we have some talents in the matter of teaching and education.  If we did not think that we had a minimum of natural gifts, aptitudes and dispositions in this domain, we would not have chosen as we have done.  But these talents are for God.  In religious life, on condition that we are faithful, we are sure that they will be completely for Him, that these natural gifts will have every opportunity of being purified by God’s grace, in the service of Charity, and will not divert us from Him, in whose service we have to employ these talents.

We must not be saints first of all, and afterwards holy teachers; sanctity is not given in separate pieces.  We should be holy teaching Sisters, that is to say, we must love God and pray to Him, being before Him what He has desired us to be, accomplishing that which His Will asks us to do.  On the other hand, we must teach and form the children, taking care that it must be for Him and in Him, by constantly returning to meditation and to peace in Him, and permitting Him to work through us in this modest and sublime work which He wants to confide to us, and by renewing often the resolution to avoid the faults and failings of which we are happy to become conscient.

The Mother House

Serve Jesus Christ in the Souls of Children

It is a basic truth of our Faith that what we do to our neighbor, we do to Jesus Christ Himself.  Souls belong to Jesus Christ more profoundly than we cannot imagine.  Can we be attentive to the entreaties which Jesus Christ addresses to us in our children.  May we have not only affection and imagination, but also above all, enough Faith to understand what our children expect of us, in the Name of Jesus Christ, in a prayer nearly always silent and which they do not always know how to formulate.  In truth, we cannot serve God in their souls unless we hear that demand which is silent but which can be translated in these terms:

“We want to know who we are and why we are created, what this world in which we live is, and if we should follow it or resist it, and what testimony we should give in it, what struggles will we have to sustain tomorrow and consequently how to be armed; we want to know if it is true that women have a special mission, desired by God Himself and if it is worth the pain of sacrificing ourselves in order to be faithful to it.

“We need a scholarly climate of honesty, of joy and pride.  We gladly accept to make efforts in order to create it, but we want to see it appear in the end.  We refuse neither the discipline nor the sanctions necessary, but may they come from hearts who understand us and who love us, in such a way that it will be easier for us to accept them.  Give us that which is necessary, in cultural and doctrinal matters, so that we might accomplish honestly our journey amongst mankind and in this valley of tears; but know how to give it to us in a certain way and truly as Spouses of the Lord.  Teach us how to govern ourselves and to practice virtue, but may it be virtue in the Lord, loving, supple and continually sustained by prayer.”


Rev. Mother Superior
Cours Saint Dominique
Saint-Pré du Coeur Immaculé
F-83170 La Celle (France)

Tel: [33] 4 94 69 12 24

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