Connect and Learn: Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Faith

by | Nov 23, 2015 | Formation, Year of Vincentian Collaboration

Founded 1867 at Glasnevin in Dublin, Ireland, by Reverend John Gowan, C.M., (1817-1897), and Margaret Aylward (1810-1889), educated in Paris, who first established (1851) the Ladies of Charity in Ireland to deal with poverty from the potato famine. A primary focus was to preserve the faith among children subject to Protestant proselytizing. Margaret Aylward, a Waterford woman, founded the congregation in Dublin in 1867 following many years of serving children in distress. This work was formalised in 1856 in St Brigid’s Orphanage – never a residential facility but a system of placing children with families in long-term fosterage. The need to provide school education for poor children saw the beginning of the network of Holy Faith schools.

The sisters first came to Glasnevin in 1865 and made their first vows in the chapel the following year. Margaret Aylward, desired that the lives of the sisters would be marked by humility, simplicity, faith and charity and be grounded in the Eucharist and prayer. In the contemporary world they seek to be signs of hope for the sisters and for all they meet. Also, in their ministries of education, faith development, pastoral work, advocacy and presence, they try to make the poor and marginalized central in their lives and give priority to them in their decision making and allocation of resources. Their most recent undertaking in 2013 was to open a primary school in Riwoto, South Sudan. You can read more about this venture and other ministries in the country specific sections.