The order of Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir was founded in 1806 in France by a rural parish priest who was overwhelmed by the lack of educational and pastoral care of the poor people in his vast parish. The group of young women he gathered to assist him pledged themselves to serve God by a life of prayer and dedication to the people of the area. This they did, giving the children a basic education and nurturing their faith as well as caring for families and ministering to the sick and housebound. They had very few resources and relied completely on God’s providence. Their motto even today is ‘Deus providebit’ – ‘God will provide’.
After a time, the women took vows and were recognised as a religious order, spreading to many other parts of France. They came to England in 1896. Today the Sisters are in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Madagascar and Sri Lanka numbering about 550, with a complementary branch in America and Taiwan. In the simplicity and joyful hopefulness of their original charism, they continue God’s work – witnessing by their life of prayer and presence with the people amongst whom they live and work in various ministries, with particular awareness of issues of justice.
The Sisters share in parish life whenever required – participating in the Soup Run, the choir, bringing Holy Communion to the sick and housebound, visiting and doing a bit of shopping when necessary.
You can find out more about the sisters on the order’s website.