In January 1859 the first three St Louis sisters arrived from France to run an industrial school in Monaghan at the invitation of the Bishop of Clogher. By the end of the 19th century they had several foundations in the diocese of Clogher and beyond and, although never as numerous as the native Irish congregations like the Mercy and Presentation sisters, they became a significant force in Irish education, emphasising, in line with their own heritage, a rounded and cultured formation for girls.
Past pupils include journalist Nuala O'Faolain (Monaghan) and Booker prizewinning novelist Anne Enright (Rathmines). With the changes of Vatican II in the 1960s came new freedoms and possibilities but at the same time a serious decline in vocations in Ireland. Now the order is an ageing one in this country but it flourishes in Nigeria, where the Sisters of St Louis began missionary work in 1947.
New Horizons looks at the history of sixty years of the institute since the first missionaries went to Nigeria, Ghana and California. It tells of an order that has made peace with a future in which it will not exist in many countries but that continues its ministry, no longer primarily in education as its schools are now run by lay staff, but in social and parish work and in advocacy.
|Publication date||20 May 2012|