Responding to a request for sisters by Msgr. William Mahony, SMA, (Apostolic Prefect) of Ilorin Prefecture, Mère Josepha de St. François decided to send some English sisters to Nigeria. In 1963, three pioneering sisters: Mary Dolores Greally, Superior, Mary of the Rosary (Ellen Gielty), Principal and Julian Peter (Joan Mary Brown, teacher traveled by ship from Liverpool to Lagos. A Girls’ Secondary School was opened in Oro, Kwara State on February 22, 1963.
After 15 years in Nigeria, all the Sisters of Notre Dame were still expatriate sisters. Their number fluctuated from 10 to 13 but it became more and more difficult to recruit sisters from overseas because the political situation in Nigeria was unstable. Finally, the sisters realized that the only way to continue the mission in Nigeria was to have a formation program for young African women who would continue Julie’s work. In 1981, formation work began in Oro. The first Nigerian sister to make her vows was Virginia Egwuchukwu. Today, the sisters minister in formal education, health care and catechetical work.