These sisters who now add " OF C HARTRES " to their title to distinguish them from another congregation of the same name, were founded at Chartres in 1704 by Monsignor Maréchaut, a theologian of the Cathedral of Chartres, assisted by Mlle de Tilly and Mlle de Tronche. Their first house formerly belonged to a sabot-maker, and this gave them the name of "Les Soeurs Sabotiers", by which they were originally known. They devote themselves to teaching, nursing, visiting the poor and taking care of orphans, the old and infirm, and the insane. There are no lay-sisters, but every sister must be prepared to undertake any kind of work. The interior spirit is a love of sacrifice and labor for the spiritual and temporal good of others. The postulancy lasts from six to nine months, the novitiate a year, after which the sisters take vows annually for three years, and then perpetual simple vows. The congregation was dispersed under the Commune at the French Revolution, but it was restored by Napoleon I, who gave the sisters a monastery at Chartres, which originally belonged to the Jacobins, from which they became known as "Les Soeurs de St. Jacques". They settled in England in 1847 at the invitation of Cardinal Wiseman . In 1907 they had fifty-six houses in various towns. Their work in England is mainly educational, schools being attached to all their houses; the English branch is under the government of a mother general. Until 1902 they had over two hundred and fifty houses in France where, besides various kinds of schools, they undertook asylums for the blind, the aged, and the insane, hospitals, dispensaries, and crèches. Since that date more than one hundred and sixty of these schools have been closed, also thirty of the hospitals, military and civil, in the French colonies, three convents at Blois and a hospice at Brie. On the other hand they have in the meanwhile opened five or six hospitals in the French colonies, two hospitals and three elementary schools in the Philippines, and three educational houses in Siam.
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