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Good Shepherd Sisters

(381 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] The image of Christ as the Good Shepherd has been an obvious model and name for religious orders devoted to social and charitable work. The most important women's order of this nature is the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (Soeurs de Notre Dame de Charité du Bon-Pasteur), a sizeable offshoot of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity (of the Refuge), founded at Caen in France by Jean Eudes (Eudist Fathers, Jesus and Mary, Congregation of) in 1644. The order was reco…

Sisters of Christian Charity

(112 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (SCC; Daughters of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception). The congregation was founded in Paderborn in 1849 by Pauline v. Mallinckrodt (1817–1881) for social and charitable work (initially primarily education of the blind, followed soon by education of girls and pastoral ministry). When they were expelled during the Kulturkampf (1873, return in 1887), they spread to the United States and Chile. Today some 700 sisters work in Germany, Italy, Uruguay, Argentina, and the Philippines. They are a congregation under papal law; their general council is in Rome. Manf…

Paulist Fathers

(183 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Societas Sacerdotum Missionariorum a Sancto Paulo Apostolo, CSP), founded in New York in 1858 by the convert I.T. Hecker (1819–1888; Redemptorist 1848–1857) for the purpose of winning ¶ as many Americans as possible to the Catholic faith. The rule of the Paulists is an adaptation of the rule of the Redemptorists, but without solemn vows. The Paulists represented a school of Catholicism open to modern culture and therefore became entangled in the “Americanism” controversy in the late 19th and early 20th cent…

Retraite, Sisters of La

(180 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] In 17th-century France, communities arose to facilitate spiritual exercises for women; soon afterward they began building retreat houses. An outstanding example was the house of the Filles de la Sainte-Vierge de la Retraite (Daughters of Our Lady of Retreat) in Vannes (1674); the sisters followed the Ignatian rule (Ignatius of Loyola) and took simple vows. These communities perished during the French Revolution, but the sisterhood was restored in the 19th century, transformed into…

John of God, Saint

(135 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (João de Deo, Juan de Dios; actually: João Cuidad; 1495, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal – Mar 8, 1550, Granada), canonized in 1690, founder of the Merciful Brothers and Sisters and innovator in the care for and assistance of those in need. Converted in 1539 by John of Avila, John devoted his life to the care of the sick (including the mentally ill) and the poor. In 1540, he established his own hospital in Granada, which became the prototype of the modern hospital because of the novel c…

Sisters of Elizabeth

(276 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] In the Middle Ages, the Sisters of Elizabeth of Hungary lived communally or semicommunally in Franciscan style; they were major supporters of the religious women’s movement and the semi-religious life. After Trent they usually lived in independent houses. In the 19th century, several congregations were organized, usually associated with a male Franciscan order, including: 1. The Order of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth (of Hungary), founded in Aachen in 1622 by Apollonia Radermecher (1571–1626). They spread through the Rhineland and Lux…

Schönstatt Movement

(247 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] This movement of spiritual renewal emerged in 1914 from the educational work of Father J. Kentenich at the seminary of the Pallottines in Schönstatt (today a district in Vallendar am Rhein); it became independent in 1964. It seeks to provide support for a humane Christian life in a pluralistic society, through a spirituality and teaching ministry emphasizing the biblical notion of a covenant (V), pursuit of “everyday holiness,” and an apostolic mindset. Its goal is ultimately to t…

School Sisters

(488 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] in the broad sense are members of the many orders and congregations of women whose primary apostolate is in the field of education and teaching; in the narrower sense, the term denotes sisters of the communities whose names reflect their teaching ministry. I. Sisters of the Christian Schools of Mercy (Soeurs des Écoles chrétiennes de la Misericorde, Sisters of St. Mary Magdalene Postel, SMMP), founded in Cherbourg (Normandy) in 1807 by Julie Postel (St.; 1756–1846), a teacher, to educate the rural population. The first Ge…


(424 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Ordo Sanctae Ursulae, OSU), the most important women’s religious institute for the education (V, 2) of young girls. The order was founded by St. Angela Merici (c. 1470–1540) in Brescia (northern Italy) as a women’s congregation with vows of chastity and a rule but without living in community. Its most important sponsor was C. Borromeo, who saw to a revision of the original rule and in 1576 ordered settlement of the Ursulines, who had been working in Milan since 1566, in all the d…

Sisters of the Holy Redeemer

(216 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer was founded in 1849 by the mystically inclined Elisabeth (Maria Alfonsa) Eppinger (1814–1867) in Niederbronn (Alsace), with the assistance of the local pastor Johann David Reichard (1796–1867), for the care of the sick and the poor (fourth vow), and of children; it was ecumenically oriented from the outset. The congregation grew rapidly in Alsace, Germany (from 1852), Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, African countries (from 1931),…


(205 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Prêtres du Clergé, Congregatio Sulpitiensis, Societas Presbyterorum a Sancto Sulpitio, PSS), a congregation of secular priests (without vows) founded in 1641 by Jean-Jacques Olier (1608–1657), pastor of St.-Sulpice in Paris, for the education and spiritual formation of seminarians and priests in the spirit of the Tridentine decree on seminaries. It is named after Archbishop Sulpicius II of Bourges (615–647). Their spirituality is christological, eucharistic, and Marian and was st…


(142 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] The Feuillants are a reform order of the Cistercians (separated 1592) named for the abbey at Feuillant (Lat. Fulium) near Toulouse and founded by abbot Jean-Baptiste de la Barrière O. Cist (1544–1600). It is characterized by rigorous intensification of the observance of the rule (going barefoot, sleeping on boards, kneeling to eat) and liturgical peculiarities. In 1630, it divided into a French congregation with 33 monasteries (abolished in the French Revolution) and an Italian congregation with 43…

Confraternities of Christian Doctrine

(363 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] Since the turn of the 14th to the 15th century, in the wake of Humanism and of J. de Gerson's pastoral work with children, youth fraternities and communities of Christian doctrine in northern Italy (e.g. in Florence and Bologna) had already begun to devote themselves to the main interests of the later Christian doctrine brotherhoods. The latter emerged in the second half of the 16th century as a reaction to the confessional conflicts of the time and aim…

Secular Institutes

(223 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] are institutes of consecrated life in which members of the faithful (clergy and laypeople, hardly distinguishable outwardly) remain in their secular (and often familial) environment while pursuing perfection in love and sanctification of the world from within. Secular institutes were recognized canonically by the pontifical constitution Provida Mater issued in 1947. They are rooted in efforts, observable since the 17th century, to live a life consecrated to God without the characteristic features of the traditional orders, as …

Salesian Sisters

(249 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Visitationists, Sisters of the Visitation, Ordo de Visitatione Beatae Mariae Virginis, OVM, VSM). The order was found in 1610 in Annecy (France) by Francis of Sales and J.F. of Chantal as a contemplative order with simple vows and modified enclosure, enabling them to minister to the poor and the sick. In 1618, at the insistence of the archbishop of Lyon, they adopted the Augustinian rule (Augustine, Rule of Saint), solemn vows, and papal enclosure; as a result, they concentrated …


(358 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Congregatio Passionis Jesu Christi, CP) was founded in 1720 as a clerical congregation on Monte Argentario near Orbetello, in Italy, by the hermit and preacher of repentance Saint Paul of the Cross (Paolo Francesco Danei, 1694–1775); the original name of the congregation was Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Members take a special vow to venerate and preach the passion and death of Jesus Christ; they engage in a contemplative life, alon…

Teutonic Order

(1,208 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] I. Origins The origins of an Ordo fratrum hospitalis sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum Ierosolymitanorum are said to date back ¶ to a hospital of Mary in Jerusalem in the first half of the 12th century. The spiritual order of knights arose in 1198/1199 from a hospital brotherhood that was set up during the Third Crusade (1189/1190) near Acre by merchants from Lübeck and Bremen. Because they were supported both by German crusaders and the Hohen­staufen, most members came from the Empire, and their estates…


(234 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] The Marianists (Societas Mariae, SM; Society of Mary; also Brothers of Mary) were founded in Bordeaux in 1817 by Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade (blessed; 1761–1850) to establish and lead Marian congregations as well as for pastoral and educational ministry. They take a fourth vow of stability (daily renewal of their commitment to Mary). Since priests and lay brothers engaged in teaching and other work tend to live together as equals, the Marianists occupy a special place among the cle…

Lefebvre, Marcel

(393 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Nov 29, 1905, Tourcoing, France – Mar 25, 1991, Martigny, Switzerland) studied at the Gregoriana in Rome from 1923 to 1930 (Dr.phil. 1925; Dr.theol. 1929), was ordained to the priesthood in 1929, and subsequently served as parish curate in a suburb of Lille. He joined the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spirit; Order of the Holy Spirit, CSSp, Spiritans) in 1931 (member until 1968) and worked as a missionary in Gabon from 1932 to 1947. In 1948, he was appointed apostolic delegate…

Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (PHJC)

(185 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] (Ger. Dernbacher Schwestern [Dernbach Sisters]), founded in 1851 by the maidservant Katharina (Maria) Kasper (1820–1898; beatified in 1978), in her hometown of Dernbach (Westerwald; today the general mother house), for the care of the sick and the poor, for the education of girls, and work in orphanages. They were recognized as a society by papal right in 1870; in 1890, the regulations based on the rule of St. Vincent de Paul were approved. The Dernbach Sisters, who at the founder…
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