When our school entered the Le Chéile Schools Trust in 2008, along with the FCJ schools at Laurel Hill and Bruff, the F.C.J. Sisters sent us the following message …..
“To be faithful is one of the core values that we entrust to you.”
Marie Madeleine was profoundly affected by the words of Jesus from the cross, “I am thirsty”. She believed that these words expressed Jesus’ desire to bring God’s love to all people. We FCJ Sisters desire that this same mission be continued through the work of education in each school community.
This we entrust to you.
Marie Madeleine was inspired by the Constitutions and Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. To be contemplative in action and to find God in all things are at the heart of this spirituality. We FCJ Sisters desire that each school community will follow this inspiration so as to be messengers of hope to our world.
This we entrust to you.
“May each FCJ school community be faithful to Gospel values especially Companionship, Gentleness, Compassion, Courage and Confidence.”
Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy was born in Châteauroux, France in 1781, and in her teenage years experienced the social unrest that followed the Revolution. She married Joseph de Bonnault d’Houët in 1804 but after just ten months was widowed. Her baby, Eugëne, was born a month after Joseph’s death. As a young, single mother she lived a committed Christian life. She doted on her child, was a responsible daughter and a loving sister and showed a strong social conscience. Marie Madeleine enjoyed a social life too, and seriously considered remarrying. But deep in her heart she sensed she was called to something else and step by step followed this call. Mary Magdalene and the women of the Gospel were an inspiration to her.
The words,”I thirst”, spoken by Jesus on the Cross touched Marie Madeleine’s heart deeply. This ardent young woman known for her generous spirit, zest for life and firm will became what she was called to be, a faithful companion of Jesus. God himself led her in 1820 to form a Society of apostolic women who would live out the Ignatian ideal, and be faithful companions of Jesus.
Within a short time of Marie Madeleine’s death in 1858 people were speaking of her as a saintly woman. In 1878, her Cause, (the process leading up to a canonisation) was strongly recommended to Pope Leo XII. In 1916, Pope Benedict XV signed the Process that introduced the Cause of Marie Madeleine and she was pronounced Venerable. In November 1970, Pope Paul VI promulgated the Decree testifying to the heroicity of her virtues. This Decree is the Church’s official declaration that Marie Madeleine lived a truly saintly life.
1781 Birth of Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy at Châteauroux, France / 1804 Marriage of Marie Madeleine to Joseph Antoine de Bonnault d’Houët
1805 Death of her husband, birth of her son Eugëne / 1814 Eugene educated by the Jesuits at St. Acheul, Amiens
1815 Marie Madeleine seeks the will of God concerning the foundation of the Society
1820 First house of the Society in Amiens, France
1830 Mission to England, Sardinia, Switzerland / 1843 Missions to England and Ireland
1858 Death of the Foundress in Paris / 1874 First steps taken in the beatification process for Marie Madeleine Victoire
1882 Mission to Melbourne, Australia / 1883 Mission to Canada
1903 FCJs expelled from France with all other religious. They flee to Belgium, Switzerland and the Channel Islands
1904 Body of the Foundress transferred to England (Upton, Wirral)
1921 Constitutions approved in accordance with the Code of Canon Law
1966 First General chapter following Vatican II; Revision of the Constitutions; New developments in the FCJ apostolate
1970 Decree of heroicity of the virtues of the Foundress by Pope Paul VI. Marie Madeleine to be known as ‘Venerable’
1979 Mission to Sierra Leone, West Africa
1980 Foundress’ body transferred to FCJ Generalate, Broadstairs, Kent, England
1984 Mission to Argentina / 1987 Mission to Indonesia / 1988 Mission to Bolivia / 1988 Mission to the Philippines / 1994 Mission to Romania / 2008 Mission to Sudan
2008 Sr. Katherine Mary O’Flynn (Ireland) elected General Superior for a further five years
* An Irish Sister, Margaret Donohoe, is working in the South Sudan, Africa, training teachers.
* F.C.J. Sisters are now working in Myanmar (Burma)
* September 2012 : Body of the Foundress was transferred to the Church of St. Dominique, Paris, with many of her descendants present.
* October 2012 : The F.C.J. Generalate was moved from Broadstairs in Kent to Gumley House Convent in London.
* October 2013 : The latest General Chapter of the F.C.J. Society was held in Liverpool and Sr. Mary Claire Sykes, fcJ, (U.K.) was elected Superior General for five years
* The General Leadership of the Society includes Sr. Mary Fitzpatrick, fcJ, General Bursar, who is a past pupil of FCJ Bunclody; Sr. Patricia Binchy, fcJ, General Assistant, taught in FCJ Bunclody in the 80’s.
GENERAL CHAPTER 2013
F.C.J. Sisters in 2017
Today, the F.C.J. Sisters live and work in three main areas : The Americas, Asia/Australia & Europe, in the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Romania, South Sudan, Spain, Switzerland & the U.S.A.
As Faithful Companions of Jesus, the Sisters adapt their apostolic ministries and expressions of their common mission, to the changing needs of society and the culture in which they live. Their challenge today is to find an effective answer to the appeals of the poor and the marginalised.
In the European Province FCJ ministries include: working with young people in schools and in university chaplaincies; ministry to people with AIDS and to their families; parish work; work in spiritual direction and retreat giving; nursing and hospital chaplaincy; the ministries of hospitality and prayer; prison ministry; counselling; working with the business community and people with influence, highlighting areas of social justice and faith development; ecumenical dialogue and many more …