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When Euphrasie learnt that the French Marist Bishop Philippe Viard, (1809-1872), of Wellington was looking for religious sisters to teach in his diocese, she responded positively to this opportunity. She and a young English novice companion left London and arrived in Lyon on 15 August 1861 where the Marist priests encouraged her to begin a religious formation programme for French women who wanted to join the Marist mission in the Pacific. Euphrasie enthusiastically began this work, hoping to found a congregation of women deeply committed to prayer and contemplation, to apostolic work with women and children, and to community life. A great love for contemplation, community and mission were to become defining features of the newly-founded congregation.
Her dream began to be realized when Euphrasie and her companion began their novitiate in Lyon on 25 December 1861. The new congregation was registered with the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda in Rome in 1862, Euphrasie made her perpetual vows on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, 3 June 1864, and on 18 August 1864, just three days after their first profession, the first four RNDM sisters left France via England, for their mission in New Zealand. It is apparent that the Institute de Notre Dame des Missions was committed to foreign missions from its beginnings, and within a short time young women were attracted to the new congregation.
Ministries undertaken by the Sisters in the decades after Vatican II included chaplaincy work in hospitals, prisons, educational institutions, ethnic, youth and refugee communities. Other RNDMs were involved in adult and tertiary level education, spiritual direction and counselling, and parish ministry
The unfolding fern fronds depicting new life opening to new hope and visions
The fern fronds prevented from opening, symbolizing the struggles of life which we all experience
The pattern of meaning of the baskets of knowledge reminding us that Wisdom enfolds us
The eyes and the light and shade recalling the signs of hope within the
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