Sisters of the Holy Family of Saint Emilie

‘Allow yourself to trust. God will provide everything; is he not our Father?’ Saint Emilie

Our Story

  • Our Foundress
  • Our History
Saint Emilie de Rodat (1787-1852)

St Emilie de RodatAs a young child Emilie de Rodat had shown a great love for God and for the poor but during her teenage years she changed and these things held little meaning for her. At the age of sixteen, however, she had an experience of God’s love that was to change her life forever.


*She wrote:

“I was sixteen years of age when
I learned to know Our Lord.
This experience overwhelmed me
and I wanted God and only God.”

With her faith once more alive in her heart she began to search for ways to serve God and to fulfil his plan for her life with a whole new energy and passion.  She started to ask questions and to think deeply about her future.  She thought of dedicating her life to God as a nun and made several attempts but it never seemed to work out.

*One day whilst she was visiting the poor in her town she met a group of women. They were talking about their children and how there was no one to teach them or tell them about God.  These words seemed like an arrow piercing Emilie’s soul. She wrote:

“I told them to send their children to me and that I would educate them myself.  I would be a teacher for the poor.”

With three companions she founded the Congregation.  It was a time of great joy for these young women but also a time of trial.  Many challenges had to be faced.  Very soon other needs were made known:  orphans, the sick and housebound, prisoners and prostitutes.  Many more young women joined her in her mission and with love, gentleness and enthusiasm they tried together to respond to the needs of the poor around them.

Today throughout the world the Holy Family Sisters of Saint Emilie try to respond to the pressing needs of their time and to reveal the face of the God of love to all especially the poor and marginalised.


  • Do you feel inspired to do something wonderful with your life as Emilie did?
  • Do you feel challenged to respond to the needs of the poor and most needy in our times?

If so you might want to find out more about our way of life.  Contact us and we will be happy to tell you more.

*1816 : Emilie de Rodat founded the Congregation.
1875 : The Congregation was approved by Rome.
1894 : First foundation in Lebanon (Beirut).
1895 : The Sisters took responsibility for their first hospitals (Rulhe, Caussade).
1901 : First foundation in Switzerland (Sierre).
1902–1904 : Anti-congregation laws in France the Sisters were dispersed
1902 : Brazil (Camaragibe, near Recife).
1903 : Spain (Cordoba), England.
1904 : Belgium (Blaton).
1908 : Egypt (Mansourah).
1938 : Italy (Rome).
1940 : Mother Emilie was beatified.
1950 : 23rd April, St Emilie de Rodat was canonised.
1957 : First departure for Bolivia and Ivory Coast.
1962 : Senegal.
1985 : Approval of the new Constitutions.
1994 : Foundation in Argentina.
2004 : Foundation in the Philippines.
2012 : Foundation in India
2020: The Future; who knows what this will bring? Our hopes are high.

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