May 28 – THE EXPANSION OF THE DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM
THE EXPANSION OF THE DAUGHTERS OF WISDOM
The Daughters of Wisdom arrived in Antwerp in 1810; this Belgian city was then part of Napoleon’s enlarged France. They went there on the orders of the emperor to care for the wounded in a military hospital and stayed there four years. They returned to Tournai in Belgium in 1846.
It was in answer to a call from the Montfort Fathers that they crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Haiti in 1875 arid in Canada in 1884. They also founded houses in Europe: Netherlands (1881), Italy (1887), England (1891), Switzerland (1901), Denmark (1903):
The 1903 General Chapter did not allow the Sisters to become laicised. Although the nursing Sisters could find new employment in civil hospitals where no one could replace them, the teaching Sisters left their schools (they were running 850 schools in 1900, and only 6 in 1914), and many of them went abroad, to the countries where other Sisters had preceded them; they went also to two new countries: Malawi (then called Shire) in 1904, and Colombia in 1905. Besides, in 1904 the Sisters in Canada crossed the border into the United States.
In 1934 they answered another call from the Montfort Fathers and some French Sisters went to Madagascar in the diocese of Tamatave. The following year the Belgian Province founded a mission in Isangi in the Belgian Congo.
The 1960’s were marked by their arrival in four new countries: Papua New Guinea (1961), Argentina (1962), Peru (1963) and Spain (1963). Between 1975 and 1979 new foundations took place: in the Bahamas (1973), Iran (1973), Yugoslavia (1976), Brazil (1977), Ecuador (1978), India (1979).
The last (the 25th) country they went to was the Philippines (1989). By 1999, they were no longer in Iran, Yugoslavia, Denmark or Spain.
Between 1901 and 1911 their numbers fluctuated around 5000. On 1 January 1999 their numbers were 2,419.