American, Haitian, Spanish, and Irish RJMs minister together in Haiti.

In 1877, the first Religious of Jesus and Mary came from Canada to minister among immigrants in Fall River, Massachusetts. Since that time, hundreds of RJM have ministered in many locations across the United States, Haiti, and elsewhere in the world as part of the USA-Haiti Province or in partnership with other RJM provinces and delegations

While education is a core ministry of the RJMs, we have always carried on the mission of our foundress, St. Claudine Thévenet, by making Jesus and Mary known in a wide range of ministries. Today, our work is guided by the RJM Preferences which have been developed internationally by our entire congregation.

Where have the RJMs served?

The Religious of Jesus and Mary have a rich history of serving in multiple areas throughout the United States and, since 1997, in Haiti. Areas of ministry have included Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, California, Texas, and other parts of the Southwestern United States. Our USA-Haiti Province has had close historical ties to the RJMs in the Canada and Mexico provinces. Over time, where our sisters live and serve has changed as we have always endeavored to follow the Holy Spirit’s call to bring the presence of Jesus and Mary where it is needed.

Click here to learn more about the history of RJM ministries in the United States.

Past Ministries

A very detailed history of the ministry locations of the RJMs in the United States was written by Sr. Janice Farnham, RJM, and published in 2020. Weaving Hope: The Religious of Jesus and Mary in the United States, 1877-2017 is available in print and Kindle editions.

Many women and men remember the RJMs as their teachers and principals at a number of different schools which have closed over the years. Schools like Regina High School, Thévenet Hall, St. John’s Kingsbridge, Villa Augustina, St. Clare, and others helped many young people grow and learn and become wonderful people contributing to the world in many beautiful ways. The Religious of Jesus and Mary are immensely proud of the alumni of our current and past schools, they are proof that our congregation’s long commitment to serving God’s people through education has been worth it!

Among those who have been served by RJM ministries in the United States is Blessed Dina Bélanger. As a young woman in Quebec, teachers saw great musical talent in Dina and convinced her parents to send her to New York City to study at the institute of music that became The Julliard School. While studying in New York, Dina lived at a unique RJM ministry called Our Lady of Peace with other young women who were working and going to school. Our Lady of Peace was a kind of boarding house and community in Manhattan where Catholic women from all over the USA and the world could live, eat, and pray under the guidance of the RJM as they participated in the expanding opportunities for work and education being offered to women. The RJM operated a similar ministry called St. Joan of Arc Residence that served young women in San Diego and a community in El Paso called the Queen of Angels Residence that focused on empowering young woman from the USA and Mexico to be involved in the Catholic Action movement. Later the RJM in the United States would use the Christian Communities model and the QUEST Volunteer Program to provide opportunities for lay women and men to live with and minster beside the sisters.

Dina returned to Canada after graduating and she became a touring musician for a few years before choosing to join the RJM and become a music teacher. Unfortunately, just a few years into her teaching ministry, Dina (known as Mother Marie de Sainte-Cécile de Rome) caught scarlet fever while taking care of a sick student and she eventually contracted tuberculosis. Because of these illnesses, Blessed Dina was forced to stay in isolation and give up ministering to others. While alone, she began a fervent interior prayer life and she decided to write about the ways in which she encountered Jesus even when she could not serve in the ways she thought Jesus had called her to. Her writings were published and proved to be very helpful to many on their own spiritual journeys. Dina Bélanger was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1993.

We invite alumni of RJM schools to click here to connect with the sisters.

Many of our sisters who have served tirelessly as teachers, missionaries, and in many ministries have passed on; you can learn about some of our recently deceased sisters by visiting our In Remembrance page and you can also learn about how our Provincial Archive preserves and remembers the legacies of our deceased sisters. We especially remember our sister, Isa Sola, RJM, who died violently in 2016 while serving God’s people in Haiti.

If you are looking for a specific RJM sister, please email us so that we can connect you with her. In the past, RJMs used religious names like “Mother St. Ignatius” before shifting to primarily using their given names, so you might remember sisters by various names.

Current Ministries

The RJMs founded Thevenet Montessori School in Highland Mills, NY, in 1971 and co-founded Washington School for Girls in Washington, DC, in 1997. As part of our mission in Haiti, the RJMs have founded and support several schools and educational ministries alongside our companions in mission, Sr. Pat Brito currently serves as principal of St. Frances de Chantal School in The Bronx. Schools like St. Francis International School and others carry on the legacy of RJM founded schools like St. Mark in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Our Haiti Mission is a vital part of our work making Jesus and Mary known in the world today. Since 1997, sisters from our province have lived among the people of Haiti in several towns and cities. We have endeavored to establish and maintain a number of different ministries alongside our Haitian companions in mission as well as volunteers from several countries and partner organizations like Mercy Focus on Haiti. You can learn more about the amazing work being done with and for the people of Haiti in our Haiti Mission Newsletters.

The RJMs also support migrants in San Diego, CA, and in Maryland. Some of our sisters work in parish, school, and diocesan ministries. Currently, our Care for Creation committee is implementing a comprehensive plan in response to Pope Francis’ letter Laudato Si’ at our beloved and sacred Bethany campus in Highland Mills, NY.

Many of our sisters are now in retirement individually or in several communities, including communities in retirement and assisted living facilities. Our retired sisters actively participate in the ministry of prayer, including praying for our mission and ministries, our active sisters, our companions in mission, those we serve and have served, and our supporters and benefactors. We invite you to pray for and with our aged and infirm sisters.

You can keep up with what the RJMs are doing by reading our provincial newsletter, Bridges. You can follow news about the RJMs worldwide by visiting the Congregación Jesús-María page on Facebook. You can also find the USA-Haiti Province on social media using the handle @rjmusahaiti

We invite you to consider learning more about how you can be a part of our ministries, how you can support our ministries and sisters financially, and how you can support us through prayer.

Praised forever be Jesus and Mary!