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Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion

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Religious institute of women, founded at Paris in May 1843, by Marie-Théodore and Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne. Théodore, at that time sub-director of the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Victories, secured from Gregory XVI permission to work among the Jews for their conversion. His brother Marie Alphonse was equally zealous and they established a congregation of sisters under the patronage of Our Lady of Sion, with its mother-house at Paris. The new body received warm encouragement from Mgr Affre , Mgr Sibour, and Cardinal Fornari, and, on 15 January, 1847, Pius IX showed his approbation of the work by granting many indulgences to the institute. Foundations were made in the Holy Land, the chief being the convent, orphan asylum , and school, near the Ecce Homo arch in Jerusalem. That of St. John's in the Mountains was founded from it. Connected with the orphanage in Jerusalem under the patronage of St. Peter are schools of art and manual-training At the Ecce Homo there are 170 pupils, Jews, Mohammedans, and Greek schismatics, besides 100 day scholars.

There are foundations in London and also at Rome, Grandbourg near Versailles, Trieste, Vienna, Prague, Galatz, Bucharest, Jassy, Constantinople, Kadi-Koi, etc. At Munich the "Sionsverein" for the support of poor children in Palestine was founded in 1865 through the instrumentality of Baroness Thérèse von Gumppenberg and Hermann Geiger. The Sisters of Notre-Dame de Sion number 500, of whom fifty are at the Ecce Homo and St. John's, and seven at St. Peter's. They are directed spiritually by the Priests of Notre-Dame de Sion, a congregation of secular priests, which includes lay brothers. At St. Peter's in Jerusalem, there are six priests, nine lay brothers, and some scholastics. The German settlement of Tabgha, on the Lake of Genesareth, is in charge of a priest of Notre-Dame de Sion, assisted by a Lazarist. There is a foundation of Priests of Notre-Dame de Sion at Constantinople.


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