A missionary spirit has permeated the Sisters of St. Mary from our earliest days. About 25 years after officially becoming a religious Congregation, Mother Claire began planning to send sisters as missionaries to a foreign land. India was considered as well as the still-growing United States of America. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 5 Sisters were sent to the United States in 1863. The original intention was to go to the Midwest to work with Indians but the Civil War prevented that and instead, the Sisters went to the small town of Lockport, NY, northeast of Buffalo. They quickly opened a school and, within a couple of years, young American women were joining the Congregation.
In 1959 a mission was opened in Rwanda, a small nation just East of the Congo and in 2008 our Rwandan sisters began a new mission in Tanzania.
In 1968 we established a mission in Cameroon, northwest of Congo
In 1976, because the sisters in the other mission countries wanted to express their missionary spirit by founding a new mission, the sisters decided to open a mission in Brazil, a country linked to Africa through its history of slavery.
Today we have many vocations from each of these countries with the exception of Tanzania, our most recent foundation. In fact, almost all of the sisters now serving in these countries are native to that country. Although at one time sisters from different missionary countries were often assigned to ministry in another country, political tensions and immigration laws have made that kind of personnel exchange extremely difficult today.
Wherever we've gone, we have always had a particular concern for the poor, for women and girls, and for education but we have also tried to meet whatever needs arise as best we can.
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221