St. Thomas of Villanova, Sisters of
ST. THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, SISTERS OF
(SSTV, Official Catholic Directory #4030); religious congregation founded in 1661 at Lumballe, Brittany, by Pierre LeProust (1624–97), an Augustinian priest. In 1670 the members began to take vows, wear religious garb, and adopt their own constitutions modeled on the third rule of St. Augustine. Originally established to restore hospitals and care for the sick in them, the institute broadened its work during the founder's lifetime to aid in all forms of spiritual as well as material need. The congregation spread quickly through France but almost disappeared during the French Revolution. Napoleon I in 1801 aided its renewal, led by Pauline de Pinczon. In 1860 came the papal decretum laudis; and in 1873, papal approval of the institute and constitutions. Besides work in hospitals, orphanages, and schools, the sisters also aided the sick poor, principally in Brittany, Normandy, and Île de France. The congregation established their first foundation in the United States in 1948. The generalate is in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. The United States provincialate is in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Bibliography: g. bernoville, Les Religieuses de Saint Thomas de Villeneuve (Paris 1953).
[j. f. broderick/eds.]