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FAQ’s

What is the Society of the Holy Child Jesus?
The Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) is an international community of Roman Catholic Sisters founded by Cornelia Connelly in 1846. The Society is composed of three provinces (American, African, European). In addition to the United States, the American Province includes Chile and the Dominican Republic.

Who is Cornelia Connelly?
Cornelia Connelly
was a wife and mother who transformed deep anguish into an unwavering mission to establish a religious congregation, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, that would “meet the wants of the age.” Her focus from the outset involved educating children. She later opened boarding schools and began a teacher training college.

What do the Sisters of the Holy Child do?
The Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus serve in ministries of teaching, spiritual direction, social and legal work, health care, parish administration, and pastoral care. The Society’s American Province sponsors 14 schools, a college, and several social service programs. In Holy Child educational institutions, children are educated in an environment of love and respect and are encouraged to develop to their full potential. Holy Child educators endeavor to develop mature persons capable of making choices which enrich their own lives and contribute to the lives of others. Through the social service programs the Sisters have founded, they strive to help people develop the tools and skills needed to overcome obstacles such as poverty, illiteracy, and abuse so that they can lead meaningful lives.To learn more about the ministries of the Society of the Holy Child, click here.

How many Holy Child Sisters are currently serving?
There are nearly 400 Holy Child Sisters ministering throughout the world. Approximately 160 Holy Child Sisters serve in the Society’s American Province, 85 of whom are in the Philadelphia area.

How many people are served annually by the Sisters of the Holy Child?
The American Province of the Society of the Holy Child provides education and outreach to more than 9,800 individuals annually. Click here to learn more.

What is the Society’s mission?
The Sisters of the Holy Child strive to “help others to believe that God lives and acts in them and in our world, and to rejoice in God’s presence.”

Where do the Holy Child Sisters live and serve?
The Holy Child Sisters serve on four continents and in 13 states. In the American Province, the Sisters of the Holy Child minister in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin, as well as in Chile, and the Dominican Republic.

Why is Cornelia Connelly’s work still relevant to the Sisters of the Holy Child today?
The Holy Child Sisters continue Cornelia’s legacy, while seeking to help people find a better life through education, social work, health care, legal work, pastoral care and administration, and spiritual direction. Cornelia’s philosophy of “meeting the wants of the age” through “actions not words” is widely praised for its vision. It is because of Cornelia’s successful early endeavors that the work of the SHCJ continues to thrive today.

How many women are pursuing a religious vocation within the Society?
In the Society’s three provinces (American, African, European), there are 63 women in the process of becoming Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus.

How else is the Society’s mission continuing?
The Sisters of the Holy Child have always valued their partnership with the laity. Throughout the world, men and women work with the Sisters to carry out the Society’s mission though its various ministries.

More recently, many people have become Associates in the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Associates are men and women who have been inspired by the spirit of Cornelia Connelly and the Society and grow closer through faith-sharing and spiritual development with the Sisters of the Holy Child. Currently, there are close to 200 Associates in the United States, Chile, and the Dominican Republic.

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