Just after the French Revolution, when France was
in a state of upheaval, a handful of young women began to
nurse the sick and dying. The twelve young women stayed in
the sick person’s home day and night, demonstrating
the healing presence of God through their compassionate care.
They chose one of the group as their leader – Josephine
Potel - and in January 1824 were professed in the Church
of St Sulpice. The word spread. People began to hear about
the spirituality of the tiny group, and about the ‘good
care’ (‘bon secours’) they offered to rich
and poor alike. Other young women joined them.
Even Josephine Potel’s death in her early twenties
did not deflect the group from their mission. Led by her
Geay, the Congregation spread throughout
France, driven by a belief that their foundation had been
an act of compassion and that they must continue to show
that compassion in action.
Spreading Out From France
The work and spirituality of the early Bon Secours Sisters attracted
the attention of an ex-patriate Irishwoman, Catherine O’Farrell,
who persuaded them to come to Ireland.
In 1861, the first foundation outside of France was made in Dublin, when
four sisters came to the city to care for the sick and dying in their
homes. From Dublin, the sisters expanded their work to Cork, Belfast,
Tralee and Galway. (more)