Daughters of the Holy Spirit

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The Daughters of the Holy Spirit or White Sisters are a Roman Catholic religious institute of women.[1]

The congregation was founded in Brittany on December 8, 1706 by Marie Balavenne and Renée Burel, who committed themselves to live together and to devote themselves to the service of the poor, the sick and children.[2] They under the direction of Father Jean Leuduger, a diocesan parish priest, Doctor of Theology and head of the Missions in Upper Brittany.

Its principal object was the education of children; but it also undertook all kinds of charitable work. They became known as the "White Sisters" from the colour of their habit.

New opportunity for nuns as charitable practitioners were created by devout nobles on their own estates. The nuns provided comprehensive care for the sick poor on their patrons' estates, acting not only as nurses, but took on expanded roles as physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries.[3]

The congregation grew rapidly, and became widespread over north-west France. It was suppressed in the French Revolution but it quickly recovered and increased a hundredfold in the 19th century.

The French anti-congregation legislation of 1902 again caused many of the nuns to leave for England, Belgium and the United States,[4] while still possessing their mother-house at Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, and several other houses in France.

References[edit]

  1. ^ PD-icon.svg "Religious Congregations of the Holy Ghost". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  2. ^ Daughters of the Holy Spirit - International site
  3. ^ Tim McHugh, "Expanding Women's Rural Medical Work in Early Modern Brittany: The Daughters of the Holy Spirit," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2012) 67#3 pp 428-456.
  4. ^ Daughters of the Holy Spirit - US website

Further reading[edit]

  • Tim McHugh, "Expanding Women's Rural Medical Work in Early Modern Brittany: The Daughters of the Holy Spirit," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2012) 67#3 pp 428-456. online in project MUSE

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.