Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity, Sisters Adorers

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A religious congregation with papal approval (1859,1866), whose official title is Instituto de Hermanas Adoratrices Esclavas del Santísimo Sacramento y de la Caridad (AESC). The foundress, St. María desmaisiÈres, began her work in Madrid c. 1850 by establishing a home for the rehabilitation of the wayward girls with whom she had come into contact through her charitable work in the San Juan de Dios hospital. She founded her congregation to educate and assist them. In the homes established in several Spanish cities her sisters cared for young women between the ages of 14 and 25. As a complement to this work, the sisters established also workshops or trade schools where the girls, after their rehabilitation, might continue to live. Following a period of spiritual formation, they could be admitted to a kind of semireligious life with private vows, and were then called Mínimas de Santa María Miguela del Santísimo Sacramento.

The Handmaids are engaged also in the education of children. In addition to those sisters who devote themselves to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and to the works of the congregation, there are coadjutor sisters who do domestic work in the convents. The congregation is active especially in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, and Japan.

[a. j. ennis/eds.]

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Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity, Sisters Adorers

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