Call to England
Call to England
In 1835, Fr. Tandy became Parish Priest of Banbury, Oxfordshire, and opened a school for poor children. He was helped by Mary and Winifred Norbert who spoke very enthusiastically of Chartres and the Sisters. Fr. Tandy, with the permission of Bishop Wiseman of Birmingham, invited Sisters from Chartres to come to Banbury.
Sister Zoile (Genevieve Dupuis) with her companion Sister Joseph Maria Sapiens were appointed to this mission and in June 1847 they arrived in Banbury. This was to be a new foundation, independent from Chartres, France.
It was a time of great challenge for Geneviève. Leaving home and country, she faced the difficulties of a foreign language, a different culture and material poverty but she possessed a strong faith. Her task was to form a community and their initial concern was to provide education for the poor. By 1849 there were over one hundred pupils being educated. Genevieve realised that older children were not attending school because they were working during the day so she started up night classes for these. She said to her Sisters, “Show a mother’s love and anxiety for the little ones of Christ, show them that you love them, do your best for them…”
Genevieve was described as ‘intelligent, distinguished and of valiant spirit’ and these attributes stood her in good stead in the early years at Banbury. Under her wise leadership the congregation expanded and during Geneviève’s lifetime she opened 88 convents. Plans to open a convent and schools in Ireland were well under way when Genevieve died on 25th September 1903. Later that year the first house opened in Ireland, namely, Kilfinane, Co. Limerick.
In 1954 the congregation responded to an invitation to send sisters to South Africa, to what is now the diocese of Rustenburg. Ministering mainly in the fields of healthcare and education the congregation responded positively to the request from Archbishop John Garner of Pretoria to nurture a new congregation of Sisters, the Sisters of St. Brigid.
Nearly fifty years later, in 1990, the Sisters began working in Romania at the request of Archbishop Ioan Robu, Bucharest.
The characteristic spirit of a Sister of Charity of St. Paul, inspired by Geneviève Dupuis, is a spirit of charity. It is expressed in a deep personal love of Christ and in a life dedicated to the service of others.