History of the Province

Moorfield playroom


At the invitation of several English bishops, small groups of French Daughters of Wisdom arrived in Alton (1891), Withington (1891), Cricklewood (1903), Rye (1904), Leicester (1904), Kelvedon (1904) and Gateshead (1906). In due course, circumstances resulted in these Sisters moving to other Foundations at Romsey (1891), Liverpool (1904), Preston (1904), Golders Green (1909), Newcastle (1912) and Chorley (1914), serving the contemporary educational, social and health needs of society.

From 1900 more Sisters came to England due to the difficult situation in France for religious communities.

Firewatchers & Fr Ryan 1940


The Province of England was established in 1911. As the number of English speaking women joining the congregation grew, it was decided to open a Noviciate in Liverpool in 1912. The Noviciate has been moved to Romsey, Preston, North Berwick, Windermere and St Anne’s at various times during the century of the Province’s existence.

During WWII, British Daughters of Wisdom working in France were interned. In England, they lived through air raids, evacuation, invasion threats, rationing and shortage of food while they continued to run the institutions as well as caring for refugees and the wounded.

Sr. Gerard Cottom and miracle oratory


Pope Pius XII proclaimed Louis Marie Saint in July 1947. The cure of Sr Gerard du Calvaire in Romsey in 1927 was accepted as one of the miracles needed for Louis Marie’s Canonisation.

Sr Joseph du Carmel, an Irish Sister, became the first native Provincial in 1952.

The first Scottish Foundation was established in Inverness in 1953. 1955 saw the first arrival in Ireland at Sligo.

Habit worn after 1965


The Second Vatican Council concluded in 1965. As a consequence the French peasant dress of 1703 was changed for a more serviceable form of dress. Also monastic customs, incompatible with the apostolic way of life, were abandoned. The Daughters of Wisdom began experimenting with small communities aimed at allowing Sisters to be more approachable to local people.
In 1969, the Province was renamed the Province of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Beatification of Marie Louise Trichet by Pope John Paul II occurred in May 1993.

Commission weekend 2010


The late 20th and early 21st Century saw another spell of great change as the larger Foundations were closed and discernments for new ministry were considered.

In 2006, the first open Provincial Chapter was held and in 2011 the Province celebrated its Centenary.

For more information on the history contact the Provincial Archives.