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HISTORY OF THE JMJ SOCIETY IN NETHERLANDS


When the Catholics were oppressed during the French revelution  Fr.Mathias Wolffsaw that the foundation of a Sisters’ Congregation was a means to open up the road to liberty.  In the course of time in 1819 two young girls, Maria Stichters aged 19 and Sophia Miltner aged 17 from Culemborg expressed their desire to Fr.Wolff to become nuns.  A short time later the third one Lebuina van Elck approached him.  They were sent to Ghent in Belgium to the Sisters of Notre Dame to be trained and formed in religious life.  A short time afterwards (1820-1821) four more candidates joined the little group at Ghent.  The Congregation was founded on July 29, 1822 which was named as Society of Jesus Mary Joseph, also known as the Sisters of Blessed Virgin Mary which was known to the outside world as Pedagogie Chretienne (Christian Education).

The first sisters, who were undergoing formation in Ghent, left for Holland in order to look out for a suitable location to commence the new foundation. Divine providence brought Miss van Werkhoven, an educated, intelligent and talented young lady to   be admitted to the Society
On June 10, 1823 the Christian Education got its approbation from the Archpriest of Utrecht and on 11th from the Archpriest of the province of Holland.
On June 24, 1823 a house was   rented in the Muurhuizen (wall house) in Amersfoort for six years in the name of Miss Maria van Werkhoven and there the community of Christian Education was established.
On June 8, 1824 to ensure the continuation of the Institute with the government a legal acknowledgement was done by giving the name “Association  van Werkhoven & Co”. It was on the same day eight of our Sisters took their religious vows for one year. 
In 1828 Amersfoort was raised to the status of Mother house.  By the year 1830 there were 6 convents ,i.e. Amersfoort, Engelen, Nijmegen, Zevenbergen, Vlijmen,  and ’s-Hertogenbosch. 
Very soon the Congregation spread out to the whole of the Nederlands under the efficient leadership of Supeiors General Mother Clara Lantman, Mother Adriana Pijpers and Mother Seraphine Pullens.
The needs were varied and so was the availability of the Sisters.  Together with extending their services to the education of girls, which was their priority, apostolates like health care, Geriatrics, schools for mentally retarded, physically challenged, visually impaired etc. were taken up as and when   the need arose and the request came from the Bishops of the Dioceses.