Sisters of Bon Secours in Great Britain

Origin and History

Early in 1870, an Englishman and his sister who had been nursed by a Religious from Cork, offered to contribute to the foundation of a community of nursing sisters in London.This was strongly supported by Cardinal Manning and his nephew Father Anderton. Everything proceeded smoothly until the defeats of the French armies when the benefactor withdrew his offer, owing to a loss of his finances. To make the situation worse the Sisters, under the direction of Mother Beatrix, had already left Boulogne, when the offer of support was withdrawn. When the Sisters arrived at St. Catherine’s dock, there was no one there to meet them. The three sisters found their way to York Place, the residence of Cardinal Manning, where they found Father Anderton.

The services of the Sisters were soon in great demand especially among the poor, and despite reinforcements from France, the Sisters were unable to meet all the demands made on them. They were helped at this time by a convert Mother St. Beatrix met when they first arrived in London, a Lady Georgina Fullerton who was a well-known journalist.   Lady Fullerton wrote an article in the Tablet describing the work of the Sisters among the poor of London which did much to enhance the growing reputation of the Sisters.

During the 1939 – 45 war, the Convent survived the Blitz, although Streets on every side disappeared and no Sisters including Sisters from Ramsgate, who joined them for the duration of the war, were injured or killed. After the war a statue to the Sacred Heart was erected in thanksgiving for their preservation.

In 1948, Archbishop Campbell invited the Sisters to Glasgow.  Among the pioneers were Sisters Borromeo, Xavier, Mother Coleman and Sister Anna Patricia.  Inevitably, the new venture had a humble beginning with a small house for the care of the elderly. Subsequently, four neighbouring houses became vacant and were purchased to provide sufficient space to build a hospital.

In the late 1950s, a number of Scottish girls volunteered as helpers, some staying on to become members of the Congregation.  The Bon Secours Health System in Great Britain was founded in 1993.  The Glasgow Hospital closed early in the year 2000.

Ministry Today

The Sisters continue to live in the 1st house that was purchased in 1948 and currently, minister in the areas of:

  • Parish ministry,
  • Refugee Action – Working with Migrants, and Immigrants
  • Pastoral Visitation of hospitals and nursing homes and home visitation.

Associates

The Glasgow Associates’ group began in 1999. Today seven members meet regularly in the convent at Langside.  The format is usually a spiritual reading followed by discussion and prayers for special intentions.  We are privileged to join the Sisters on special occasions such as feast days, jubilees and visits by Sisters of Bon Secours from other countries. We also try to support the Sisters in any way we can with both practical help and prayer.