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