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Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood

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Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood

Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood
P.O. Box 97 (1094 Welsh Rd.)
Reading, PA 19607-0097
Phone: 610-777-1624

Witnesses of God’s Redeeming Love

History of the First CPS sisters in North America

The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood was founded by Abbot Francis Pfanner at Mariannhill, near Durban, South Africa in 1885. Abbot Francis soon realized that if he wanted to bring Christ to the Africans he would need the support of indigenous women. To give them the education and training he needed Sisters. From the original five followers of Abbot Francis, our congregation has spread throughout the world. The Congregation of the Mariannhill Missionaries' Web site has a more detailed history of Mariannhill.

The first Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood arrived in the United States from Europe in 1925, at the invitation of the Vincentian priests. These "pioneer" sisters did domestic work for the Vincentians at St. Joseph Preparatory School, Princeton, New Jersey and at St Vincent's Seminary, Germantown, Pennsylvania. The sisters carried on despite the fact that all communications with the Motherhouse in Holland was cut off during World War II.

A novitiate was established in Princeton in 1948; and in 1950 two sisters from the United States professed their first vows. In 1951 a Sister from Canada was among the sisters who took their vows in our congregation. In July 1952, the first group of five sisters were missioned to South Africa. That same year, due to growing numbers, the novitiate was moved to Reading, PA.

In 1951 another pioneering band of Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood arrived in Toronto from Holland, at the invitation of the late Cardinal James McGuigan. They encountered formidable difficulties since as missionaries they had neither funds nor contacts to rely on. Their faith and perseverance was tested severely. Generous hospitality was extended to them by the Sisters of St Joseph and the Sisters of Loretto Abbey. Finally in 1954, the Sisters were able to establish themselves at St Bernard's Convent in Willowdale. Here they opened St Bernard's Convalescent Hospital. This same year, the Canadian formation program began with the first candidate entering the community from Newfoundland who later was missioned as nurse to South Africa. It was through the intercession of St. Joseph, the hard work and prayers of the sisters, and many generous benefactors that the small hospital of eight beds was extended in 1957 to accommodate 60 patients. The Ontario Government's restructuring commission closed this hospital in 1999. The sisters have since reopened it as St Bernard's Residence for Seniors.

After the initial missionings, other sisters from the community have been sent to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Italy, Holland and Korea. As in the rest of the congregation, we have been involved in a broad spectrum of apostolates in our efforts to witness to God's redeeming love. Over the years, our ministry here in North America have included early childhood education and teaching at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. We have worked in health care services as nurses, doctors, administrators, physical and occupational therapists, hospital chaplains, caregivers for the elderly, with AIDs patients and in nutrition education. We have served in social work, parish ministry, domestic work, gardening, religious education, work with the mentally and physically handicapped, retreat work, art, and in ministry to the Hispanic and First Nations people.