The Daughters of Mary and Joseph

The Daughters of Mary and Joseph are an international community of women religious, called to make visible the merciful love of God.  They were founded in Belgium on 6th March 1817 by Canon Constant Guillame van Crombrugghe in collaboration with a lay woman named Colette de Brandt.  The first sisters were from among the domestic staff of Alost College, where the Founder was the headteacher.  They taught poor girls a trade, lacemaking, along with a basic Catholic Education in a small house in Alost.

As the years went by more women entered who were experienced teachers and they became known as “Dames de Marie” (female teachers in Belgium were called “Dames”).  Formal schools were opened including one in Maline, named Coloma after the donor of the property. These schools catered more to women of the middle class, teaching a broad and modern curriculum but always had space for the poor.

When the first Daughters of Mary and Joseph came to England in 1869 they opened a school in Croydon, Coloma, and were known as Ladies of Mary. Gradually the Congregation opened communities in Africa, the USA (California) and Ireland.

Today the Daughters of Mary and Joseph (DMJ Sisters) have communities in Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda), Europe  (Belgium, England and Ireland) and the USA (California).  They are engaged in a wide range of ministries, including serving as members of the Governing Body of our school.  Living in the world of today with all its possibilities and its injustices, they “respond, in particular, to two urgent realities: a spiritual thirst and those to whom society says there is no place”. 

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