Our Bon Secours Retreat & Conference Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Bon Secours. Today marks their Foundation Day, the day when the first sisters took their vows on January 24, 1824 at the St. Sulpice Church in Paris, France. We are forever grateful for these 12 brave pioneers who formed the community that went on to share their ministry across the world. As we mark this special day, let’s learn a little more about their rich history.
Paris, 1824 – Amidst the devastation following the French Revolution a group of 12 women rose up to nurse the sick and dying under the banner of God. Revolutionary themselves, they were some of the first to leave behind the security of the cloister and live in radical solidarity with the poor.
In 1881, the congregation was invited to the Archdiocese of Baltimore and crossed the Atlantic to establish a health care ministry in Baltimore, Maryland. In just 20 years the congregation grew so great that convents were established in both DC and Detroit.
The Sisters were the first in the world to provide formal health care and the first in Baltimore to offer day care. It was here that working mothers, with orphanages as their only alternative, were able to leave their children as they worked the back-breaking shifts necessary to support their lives.
The Sisters have a long tradition of willingness to take risks in pursuit of innovation, growth, and extension of mission – one such example arose in their desire to create St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children, the very first Catholic homes for the physically challenged.
They established their first hospital in Baltimore in 1919 and opened their second in Michigan in 1945. By 1980 the Sisters had established several Catholic hospitals, long-term care facilities and a myriad of other health care services.
The Bon Secours Health System was formed in 1983 to provide skilled, unified management and professional resources for all Bon Secours health care operations while preserving Jesus’ healing mission and Bon Secours’ tradition of providing quality care to all men and women, especially the poor, sick, and dying. Then, in 2018 they merged with Mercy Health to form the Bon Secours Mercy Health System.
In 1962, the Sisters purchased the property in Marriottsville and in 1965 they opened the spiritual center, which was later named the Bon Secours Retreat & Conference Center, to provide a place of spiritual healing to all.
If you’d like to learn more about the Center’s history, please click here.
As we celebrate the Sisters of Bon Secours on their Foundation Day, please pray with us:
God of graciousness and love,
We come before you today grateful for the many gifts you give us, for the many blessings you bestow upon us. In a special way this day, we recall the courage and the grace of 12 young women who together embodied your love in the service of those who were sick and suffering in any way. May their example inspire each of us to use our gifts. Make of us witnesses to your presence and love active in our world. Support us as we strive to be good help* too, especially to people in need. Amen.
*’Good help’ is the meaning of Bon Secours.