The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur
The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur is an international congregation of committed, religious, women vowed within the Catholic Church.
Simplicity and joy are the main characteristics of the Sisters. Their choice of ministry is always marked by a concern for the most downtrodden and needy, especially women and children.
Both their early history and present story share the same quality: to be at the service of those in need, especially the poor of our day. From the origins of their congregation in Belgium, a missionary call sounded in the hearts of the members. This led to Sisters traveling from Belgium to forge new beginnings in immigrant communities of America in 1863. The Sisters first ministries brought them to Lockport, NY, north of Buffalo where teaching became their primary work.
Five Sisters arrived from Belgium to establish Catholic schools within the flourishing immigrant community of Lockport. That ministry of Christian education soon expanded to the city of Buffalo, and in the late 1890’s to the suburb of Kenmore where five schools were founded by the Sisters, along with a school in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Catholic education continued to be the primary service of the Sisters, and in the late 40’s and early 50’s, the sisters heard the challenge to expand that ministry to the poor of South Carolina. During the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, works of Christian formation, living in compassion for the needs of the poor, and social justice ministries developed in the states of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.
At the same time, the international charism called many Sisters to the missions in Africa, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. As these new ministries developed, the Sisters realized how their own lives were being shaped by the Word of God, the Eucharist, and their fellow travelers on the road of faith toward God.