Our Story

Our origins

This page outlines our origins. For the story of how and where we have moved since our foundation, read Our Moves …


c1173 St Dominic de Guzman was born in Spain.

1206 St Dominic founded a Convent of contemplative nuns at Prouihle, France.

1245 Independently of Convents founded by St Dominic, a group of pious women, called Beguines, emerged in Europe. Some became affiliated to the Dominican Order.

1335 Some Beguines founded a spiritual community in Augsburg.

1394 The community of St Ursula, in Augsburg, Germany was affiliated to the Dominican Order and became a contemplative, enclosed Dominican community.

1877 The Convent of St Ursula, Germany, started a new missionary foundation in King William’s Town, South Africa.

1890 Five Sisters set out from the King William’s Town Convent as missionaries to the Zambezi Mission.

1891 Mother Patrick Cosgrave and the Sisters nursed in the first, primitive Hospital in Salisbury, Rhodesia.

1892 The Sisters opened their first school in Salisbury.

From Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, the Sisters went on new missions in Africa, Europe and South America:
1917
Germany
1924
Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia
1946
Great Britain
1946 - 1977
Moçambique
1973
Colombia
1979 - 2008
Italy
1984
Kenya

Read about how the Sisters continued to serve people even in very trying and difficult circumstances, crisis and wars … Our Moves ... >