Great Britian 1845
At the invitation of Bishop Baines OSB, Belgian Redemptorist Fathers, led by Fr L. de Buggenoms, arrived in Falmouth in 1843. In 1844 the Redemptorist superiors made a visitation and concluded that enduring results could only be achieved by proper Catholic schools and that Religious Sisters were necessary for the instruction of women and girls. Bishop M. Baggs, who had succeeded Bishop Baines, extended an invitation to the Sisters of Notre Dame to come to Britain. The first Sisters arrived in Penryn, Cornwall on 15th November 1845. Fr de Buggenoms was to become Notre Dame’s friend and guide until his death.
Since the community in Penryn was struggling, it was agreed that the community should transfer to Clapham in September 1848. It was through the Clapham convent that the Honourable Laura Maria Petre, a rich widow entered Notre Dame at the recommendation of Fr de Buggenoms. The wealth that she brought with her to the congregation enabled the expansion of the Sisters work in England and Scotland.
From a small island in the Outer Hebrides off the north-west coast of Scotland to the very south-west of England, our Sisters in Britain continue our educational charism in a variety of ways. While only a few are still directly employed in school ministry, sisters are involved in education through their work with the local Church at national, diocesan and parish level as well as with educational institutions/ schools. Our ministries include catechesis, a variety of pastoral initiatives, retreat work, ecumenism and assisting families of children and young people who have emotional/ behavioural difficulties. There is a strong emphasis on work with the disadvantaged that is asylum Seekers, senior citizens and with children/adults with learning difficulties and other disabilities. Our preference continues to be with the poor and marginalised in society.