St. Mary of Namur, Sisters of

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(SSMN, Official Catholic Directory #3950); a pontifical institute of teaching sisters founded at Namur, Belgium. In 1819, with the help of Josephine Sand and Elisabeth Berger, Nicolas Joseph Minsart, a Cistercian who was secularized during the French Revolution, opened sewing classes in St. Loup parish, where he was endeavoring to restore Christian family life. In 1834 the members of his parish group were permitted by the bishop to form a religious society and to consecrate their lives to God through Mary by the vows of religion. The Christian education of youth is the primary purpose of the congregation; a period of nine years of spiritual and scholastic training precedes the taking of perpetual vows. In 1863, Pierre Jean de smet arranged with Bishop John Timon of Buffalo, New York, to establish a convent of the sisters in that diocese. Mother Emelie, with four companions, opened a school in Lockport, New York. From there the sisters spread throughout the United States and Canada. The United States provincial houses are located in Buffalo, New York (Eastern Province) and Fort Worth, Texas (Western Province); the generalate is in Namur, Belgium. In the United States, the sisters are engaged in academic education at all levels, catechetics, diocesan administration, pastoral ministries, social services, health-care, and refugee and migrant assistance.

[m. l. corcoran/eds.]

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St. Mary of Namur, Sisters of

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St. Mary of Namur, Sisters of