New Horizons

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New Horizons

Author: Jo O’Donoghue

Publication Date: June 2012

ISBN: 978-1-907535-26-0

Category: History

Type: Paperback

Price: €14.99

The Sister of St Louis were founded in Juilly, France, in 1842 by philosopher and educationist Louis Bautain. Their first Irish foundation was in Monaghan, in 1859. In the century that followed they became one of the foremost teaching congregations, both at primary and secondary level, in a country that greatly prized education. Their boarding schools in Monaghan, Carrickmacross, Bundoran, Kiltimagh, Balla, Dundalk, Ballymena, Kilkeel and Ramsgrange and day school in Rathmines fostered intellect and academic achievement as well as music, performance and art.

From 1947 the St Louis Institute undertook missionary work, sending hundreds of sisters far from Ireland to minister in education and health in Ghana, Nigeria and California, as well as beginning a mission to Brazil from the 1970s. Reunification with the French motherhouse, in the early 1950s, reconnected the Irish congregation with the rich spirituality of its founders. The decades that followed Vatican II saw a complete transformation in the structures of religious life and a search for new meaning, exemplified above all by the preferential option for the poor, which the institute adopted in the 1980s.

New Horizons is the story of the Sisters of St Louis from 1947, when the institute established its first mission in Kumasi, Ghana. Drawing on historical and archive material and interviews with sisters from many countries, the book recounts achievements, challenges and changes of all kinds as well as the personal stories of religious, many of whom entered a teaching order but found themselves in apostolates of infinite variety, sometimes in far-flung locations. It is the story of a group of women with great heart and courage who drew renewed inspiration for living in a changing world from the vision of their founders and the fruits of their own ministries.

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