Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels (MNDA)
(Soeurs Missionnaires de Notre-Dame des Anges, MNDA)
“In 1913, Florina Gervais, a very young Canadian Missionary in Canton, China decided to set up a novitiate for Chinese girls. She returned to Canada to pray and work for the idea. Two years later with a young Canadian girl, Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart (the religious name of Florina Gervais) returned to Swatow at the invitation of the Bishop there. After contracting a fever, her companion died. Alone and with the war on, the Bishop advised her to return to Canada and try to found a novitiate there.
|Florina Gervais||Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart|
With the help of the Bishop of Sherbrooke, Bishop La Rocque and the warm encouragement of the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Pietro di Maria, in June 1919 the first novitiate was opened, and in 1922, with the canonical erection decree, the missionary institute was formally established. In the same year, five sisters sailed for Kwei Yang in Kweichow.
When Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart left Swatow in 1915, she brought with her a young girl of 17 named Chan Tsi Kwan, whom she had known as a pupil in Canton. That girl later became Mother Mary Gabriel, the co-foundress of the Congregation with Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart in 1919. Each year new groups continued to come to China until in 1949 when missions were expelled from China. They had 14 houses, four of them in Canton. After long years of work in China and Canada and incidentally the opening of St. Clare’s in Hong Kong, Mother Mary Gabriel died in 1974 in Canada, and Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart died in 1979.
|Chan Tsi Kwan||Mother Mary Gabriel|
Training of girls for sisterhood was the first work of the Congregation. They did this in several dioceses but they also had schools and hospitals, worked in leprosaria and social work. Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart chose to follow the Franciscan Third Order Rule (TOR) due to coincidence. Their first house was near a Franciscan monastery, the Fathers there were her first mentors. So again she got what she wanted – to be a Franciscan with accent on poverty and humility, a badge that would distinguish the Sister of Our Lady of the Angels to this day.
Today, the Congregation has Mission houses in Hong Kong-Macau (China), Japan, Peru, Tanzania, RDCongo, Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines, Rwanda and Canada as the main headquarter.
The Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels are strictly missionaries. The Mother Foundress always said if God wanted the work to go on, He would send vocations to continue His mission through these humble servants of His.
Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the angels
with co-foundress, Sr. Mary Gabriel
|Sisters in the 1920s|