Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary

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A Sister of Charity of Jesus and Mary (ca. 1900)

The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary is a Roman Catholic religious institute founded in Ghent, Belgium, on November 4, 1803 by the Rev. Canon Peter Joseph Triest, the pastor of Lovendegem at that time. Triest, who was to found two other religious institutes for the relief of the poor, recruited a group of young women, from among whom the co-foundress Mother Placida van der Gauwen came. Mother Placida later became the first superior of the congregation.[1]

The Congregation has as its main apostolate helping the needy and the sick, as an enclosed religious order. Late in the 19th century, they established missions in the Belgian Congo and India. They were also invited to open a house in England by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan. Their traditional habit, inspired by the Cistercian tradition, was a white tunic with a black veil and scapular.[2]

From this Congregation came Sister Marie Louise Habets, the Religious Sister portrayed as Sister Luke / Gabrielle Van der Mal in the book by Kathryn Hulme entitled The Nun's Story. Her character was played by Audrey Hepburn in the film adaptation of the book.[3]


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