A congregation whose work is the nursing of the sick poor in their own homes. This labour they perform gratuitously and without distinction of creed. The congregation was founded in Paris in 1865, by the Rev. Etienne Pernet, A.A. (b. 23 July, 1824, d. 3 April, 1899), and Marie Antoinette Tage, known in religion as Mother Marie de Jésus (b. 7 Nov., 1824; d. 18 Sept., 1883). Both had long been engaged in charitable work, Father Pernet while a professor in the College of the Assumption at Nîmes, and MIIe. Tage as a member of the Association of Our Lady of Good Council in Paris. They met in Paris and Father Pernet placed her in charge of the work of nursing the sick poor which he had inaugurated. Out of this movement the sisterhood grew, Mother Marie de Jesus being the first superior. The nursing of the sick poor is not the only or even the chief purpose of the Little Sisters. They endeavour to bring about conversions, to regularize illicit unions, to have children baptized, sent to school, and prepared for first Communion and Confirmation. They form societies among their clients and enlist the aid of laymen and laywomen of education and means to further the work of regeneration. The congregation has established houses in Italy, Spain, Belgium, England, Ireland, and the United States of America. The papal Brief approving the congregation was issued in 1897. The sisters take simple vows and are governed by a mother-general, who resides in Paris.
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