Cornelia Connelly, an American, a loving wife and mother, a zealous convert, was to become, through extraordinary circumstances, the Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in England in 1846. Her life story and experience enabled her to respond to the need for works of mercy among the poor, especially that of the education of young women and children.

At the same time her sisters often engaged in spiritual ministry and helped in parishes. But it was primarily as educators that she trained them, and her educational system was highly praised for its innovative and effective human methods. The heritage of respect for the dignity of every human being which Cornelia gave her community has been translated through the generations as a spirit of trust and of reverence for all God’s people. In 1862 six sisters from England took the Society to the United States. Initiatives of European and North American sisters followed in the next century. In 1931 three sisters brought the Society to Nigeria and in 1967 four sisters began the Society's life in Chile. Today the Society is in North America, Africa, Europe, Latin and South American and Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus live out the ageless motto of the Society, "Actions not Words," in a variety of ministries taking religious life into the third millennium. Books, plays and articles have been written about Cornelia Connelly and her extraordinary life.

Historical information:

Cornelia Connelly biographical information

For further reading on the history of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus,
please see the Publications page.




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