The Congregation of the Sisters of St.Charles Borromeo was founded on September 27, 1684 by Adrien Bresy, parish priest of Wez-Velvain, in the diocese Tournai, Belgium. Poverty, famine, illiteracy, sickness of all kinds was the aftermath of French revolution in 17th century.
To give the best primary education to girl children Fr. Adrien Bresy found five young ladies who were ready to help him in his noble enterprise: They were Marie- Catherine Warquain aged 25 years, Elisabeth Therese Lepe aged 25 years, Marie Marguerite Delure aged 24 and Marie – Barbe Delrue aged 22 years from Wez(Belgium). Adrien Bresy started a school and was inspired to constitute the first five teachers into a religious congregation.
It was in 1684, that the first Death Centenary of St. Charles was celebrated, Fr. Adrian Bresy chose St. Charles Borromeo as the patron of the newborn Congregation because St. Charles was the pioneer of christian education in the diocese of Milan, he had great love for the church, the poor, the lonely and the abandoned.
Our founder tried to emulate St. Charles Borromeo, he distinguished himself by his profound humility and great simplicity, he was a fervent and zealous priest who wished to give the poor women who joined hands in this venture. They received the Religious habit on 25th November 1685 and made the simple vows of obedience, poverty and chastity.
As we recall and remember our Founder and patron, we the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo have the task to read the signs of the times to discern God’s Presence in our history and contemplate God’s action in the world and in our country today. We have the prophetic task of building up communities of love, freedom and justice. This mission calls us to pay the price, to bear the burden, to suffer pain, loneliness and loss. Mission remains at the heart of our Apostolic life.
As some one has rightly said that the task of Religious life for the third millennium is to be a vision of the future for the hopeless, a passion of life for the oppressed, an experience of compassion and love for the needy and the rejected, a promise of justice for the marginalized. We realize that our function is to be leaven in the world and not a labour force, to be Bread Broken for a New World.
The Sisters of St.Charles Borromeo in India.
The story of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo in India has for its beginning the proclamation of Pope Pius XI, made in the year 1927. He, by a decree declared, St .Therese the Little Flower as the Patroness of the Missions and the Holy See made frequent appeals to the Congregations in Europe to send labourers to the mission fields
On December 31, 1929 with the blessing of Pope Pius XI and under the protection of St. Therese the first house in India was opened at Ranipet. They established a school and an orphanage for the girls. Also a dispensary was opened. This first set up in Ranipet became a strong foundation for our Mission in India.
Growth and spread of the Congregation
The historical facts that precede its beginning enforce one to exclaim, ‘Great are the works of God!’ The flourishing Congregation in India bears witness to God’s intricate ways. The unceasing grace of God has led the Congregation to spread and to give formation to the East, West and the North Provinces in India.Today there are 64 houses in India, covering 12states serving the people through schools, hospitals, dispensaries, leprosaria, social work centers, homes for the aged, orphanages, boarding houses for the destitute children mid-day meal project for the poor school children, schools for the special children and so on.
The clarion call from overseas missions received a prompt reply from the Sisters. Today the Indian sisters are engaged in various ministries in Belgium, Argentina, Poland, Italy Tanzania, Uganda and Mexico. The remarkable change in the history of the congregation is that, India who was depending upon the foreign missionaries is sending her daughters to the overseas mission to serve.
Pioneers of Indian Mission
Mother Marie Gerard
Mother Maria Brownsdon
Mother Marguerite Marie
Mother Virginie Amand