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Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit

Updated: September 09, 2010 07:31 AM GMT
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The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters are a Religious Missionary Community of Women Disciples in an international Congregation, called to share in the universal mission of God in Jesus, in the dynamism of the Holy Spirit. On December 8, 1889, in the little village of Steyl in the Netherlands, Arnold Janssen founded the women’s Mission Congregation, Servants of the Holy Spirit. He had already opened the first men’s German mission house there in 1875 and founded the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). The women who came to Steyl, hoping to become missionary sisters and dedicate their lives to the work of spreading the faith, went through a long and arduous time of waiting. Seven years of perseverance in difficult living and working conditions tested and clarified their vocation before they finally began their religious life. In 1893 the Bishop of Roermond approved their constitutions. On March 12, 1894 the first twelve sisters took their vows. The number of members grew rapidly and the congregation was able to found new missions in China, Japan, Germany, Austria, the Philippines, Mozambique, Indonesia, Paraguay and Poland. By 1946 further foundations were made in countries such as Chile, England, India, Slovakia, Switzerland, Australia and Ghana. In the 1950s openings in Spain, Taiwan and Paraguay took place. Women from different countries entered and the congregation became more international. After 1980, new foundations grew up in Angola, Botswana, Bolivia, Mexico, Korea, Portugal, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Ethiopia and Cuba, Zambia, Antigua, South Africa, Benin, St. Kitts, Moldova. There was a shift from institutions and large communities to life for and with the poor and underprivileged, small communities in the midst of the people, on the outskirts of cities or in remote areas of specific countries. The priorities today are woman and people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as marginalized people in general. The numerous different nationalities and languages give the congregation a decidedly international flavor. www.worldssps.org

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