Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph

Founded at Le Puy, France in 1650 by Father Jean Paul Medaille, SJ, assisted by Rightt Reverend Henri de Maupas, a friend and disciple of Saint Vincept de Paul, for the Christian education of children. The residence of Mme. de Joux became the cradle of the "Institute." A number of young women, eager for social service in religion, offered themselves and were received by the bishop as the first members of the congregation. The constitutions, drawn up by Bishop de Maupas, are based on the Rules of Saint Ignatius; approbation in 1655. The congregation spread over the whole of France, to Savoy, Italy, and Corsica, with numerous hospitals, schools, and orphanages. Dispersed in 1793, their property confiscated, the community was reassembled at Saint Etienne in 1807 by Mother Saint John Fontbonne, thence removed to Lyons, from which mother-house foundations have been made in Armenia, Egypt, Corsica, the Indies, Mexico, and the United States; the congregation is now represented in nearly every country of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The sisters were introduced into America in 1836 by the Right Reverend Joseph Rosati of the Diocese of Saint Louis, Missouri. The movement for general government, with a member of the congregatjon as superior instead of episcopal control, was begun in 1860 and brought to a successful issue in 1877. The Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn houses did not change their form of government. In the census of 1925 the Sisters of Saint Joseph numbered 10,000 (2500 under a superior-general residing at Carondelet in Saint Louis, 7500 under diocesan administration). In Canada, as in the United States, the sisters teach in day and boarding schools, and conduct orphanages, homes, hospitals, and other institutions.

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