Founded at Dublin, in 1857, by Margaret Aylward, under the direction of Rev. John Gowan, C.M., for the care of Catholic orphans. The foundress was called a confessor of the Faith by Pius IX, because of the imprisonment of six months she endured on account of her efforts to save some Catholic orphans from the hands of proselytizers. The congregation is especially active in the Archdiocese of Dublin, the residence of the superior general being at Glasnevin, where the sisters conduct a boarding-school for young ladies. In the original foundation, St. Brigid's Orphanage, Dublin, nearly three thousand orphans have been trained and placed in trades and situations. The members of the congregation also conduct primary schools, private day schools, infants' schools, and junior boys' schools. In their Coombe and Strand Street (Dublin) houses, which have an attendance of 1200 and 800 respectively, the poor receive their breakfast daily, and are also provided with clothing. Altogether the sisters in the fourteen convents of the archdiocese have charge of about seven thousand children. In the Diocese of Ossory a community of eight sisters conducts two primary schools and a private day school, with an attendance of 160.
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