HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATION OF JESUS MARY JOSEPH
The Congregation of JMJ was founded on 29th July 1822 under the name: ‘Pédagogie Chrétienne’ (Christian Education). In addition to it, in 1839, the founder gave the name ‘Sisters of Blessed Virgin Mary’ which later was named as Society of Jesus Mary Joseph and now the ‘Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph’.
Global presence of JMJ: This flame of JMJ was brought to Indonesia in 1898 and then to India in 1904 when seven Dutch sisters came to Guntur to start their mission, of health care, education, and catechesis. The same flame was ignited afresh in 1962 when three provinces were erected namely the Netherlands, Indonesia and India.
JMJ sisters started the mission in Australia (1961 – 1982) and Tanzania, East Africa (1961-1975) and eventually handed over these ministries to the natives.
Rome mission began in ‘Collegio Olandese’ between 1931 and 2005 by the Dutch missionaries. In 1985, five Indian sisters joined the mission in Rome. The mission in Rome is being continued in collaboration with SEDOS and Hospitallar sisters of Mercy. This missionary spirit led the sisters to travel across the oceans, and reach Ghana, in West Africa, in 1990 which eventually became a region in 2009. A new ministry in education and healthcare services began in New Mexico USA in the year 2012.
The strenuous efforts of sisters in India yielded a rich fruit in the Lord’s vineyard and within a few years the glow of the flame shown all over the country resulting in the establishment of three provinces in 1987 and a fourth province in 2009.
Formation of New Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph
The prevailing situation in the Society of JMJ necessitated a discussion in General Chapter 2011on the re-organizationof the Society. A prolonged deliberation led to the decision to form into two new independent Institutes. The Holy See issued the Decree on 10th September 2016 for establishment of two new Congregations with Papal Right, namely: Indonesia & the Netherlands as Congregation of Sisters of Jesus Mary Joseph and the others India and Ghana, as the Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph. The establishment of the new Congregations required the drafting of new Constitutions.
Constitutions of the Congregation
The Constitutions of the Congregation reflect the essence of the spirituality, charism, vision and mission of the Founder, Fr. Mathias Wolff SJ. He has marked out for his sisters a sure path to walk the way of the Lord, keeping always before the eyes the glory of God and service of the neighbour, with an “ever adaptable apostolic availability” as their Charism. Therefore, more than the written Constitutions it is the spirit lying within it, is cherished and upheld. The sisters have value only in so far as they incarnate the spirit of charity and love which the Lord, through His Spirit, writes and engraves in the hearts of the members.
The first rules of the Society of JMJ wereformed in 1823 which underwent several revisions and amendments over the years. Following the Directives of the Vatican II, the Society revised its Constitutions and received Papal approbation on 7th July 1985.
The re-founding of the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph as the Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph on 10th September 2016 mandated the drafting of new Constitutions.
The new Congregation continued with new dynamism to fan into flame the gift of God (2 Timothy 1:6) - the charisma and spirituality of the Congregation, in order to revitalize the zeal, to keep intact the spiritual patrimony of the Founder “giving the past a future.”
The primary purpose of the Constitutions is to foster, promote and safeguard the spiritual heritage, progress and apostolic fruitfulness of the Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph.
These Constitutions guide the lives of the sisters in apostolic availability, interior freedom, contemplation in action, universality of mission, union of hearts and minds, simplicity of life, sacrificial love, and total surrender to God’s will. We concretely express these in and through the evangelical counsels of consecrated chastity, evangelical poverty, and apostolic obedience. We as members of JMJ are sustained by constant prayer, nourished by the Eucharist, strengthened by the sacraments, and inspired by the Word of God. We live these values in a community of companions on Christ’s Mission, in imitation of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, after the inspiration and example of Fr. Mathias Wolff SJ of holy memory.