We belong to the international Mission Congregations founded by St.Arnold Janssen with Mother Mary Michael as our Co-foundress. Together with the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) and the Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) we form the so-called Arnoldus Family.
In 1896, after Arnold Janssen had given all his attention to the foundation and development of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS), which was then blossoming fully, he turned to the completion of this work with the establishment of the Institute of the Cloistered Sisters.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1896, was chosen as the foundation date. Six Sisters from the Missionary Sisters were chosen, among them was Sr. Michael (later Mother Mary Michael, our Co- foundress), and were invested with the pink habit, white scapular and veil.
The tasks of the Sisters were prayer and manual work while living a complete and permanent enclosure.
The center of their prayer was Eucharistic adoration and the recitation of the Divine Office. The missionary character of the foundation was expressed in the obligation of intercessory prayer and prayer for priests.
On November 1, 1901, they were permitted to begin perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in the exposed ciborium.
Meanwhile the Missionary Sisters’ branch had grown so rapidly that the former convent of the Augustinian nuns that the two communities were occupying, which had been significantly enlarged by the repeated addition of new wings, had become too small.
The foundation stone for a bigger convent was laid at Pentecost 1902. This new convent was constructed as a double convent in the form of a dove for the two communities, the Missionary and Cloistered Sisters. The building was inaugurated in October 1904 and the Cloistered Sisters were able to move into their designated south wing on the eve of All Saints.
When the Founder died there were around forty Cloistered Sisters including the aspirants. There was hardly room for more than that, because they only resided in one wing of the convent of the Missionary Sisters; the latter had also increased so rapidly that they urgently needed that wing themselves.
On December 9, 1912, the foundation stone for the new “Convent of the Holy Spirit” was laid. The building operations were carried out by the SVD Fathers and Brothers – all skilled artisans in their various trades.
On August 26, 1914 the house was inaugurated and the Sisters moved into their new home.
On November 6, 1915, the Diocesan Bishop of Roermond, Msgr. L.J.H.A. Schrijnen, gave the Sisters permission for perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament by day and by night, without restriction, for all future time. Thus, since November 8, 1915, our Savior in his Sacrament of Love has been enthroned high above the altar of the adoration church in Steyl and in all the daughter foundations of the Adoration Sisters.
At first the new cloistered branch carried the same name as the Missionary Sisters: Servants of the Holy Spirit. The Bishop agreed that the Adoration Sisters should become an autonomous Congregation. With regard to the name he decreed that a short addition should be made to the former name and the Sisters were to be called: “Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration.”
On July 10, 1917, the Sisters received the Document of Approbation of the Rule which was dated July 7. On February 27, 1933 the Congregation attained the definitive approbation of the Congregation and of the holy Rule from the Apostolic See. The cloistered branch now became an independent Congregation, with Mother Mary Michael as its first Superior General.
As early as 1913, the cloistered branch received an invitation to found an adoration convent overseas. In May 1913 Mother Mary Michael received a letter inviting the Congregation to found in Philadelphia, North America. In 1915, the new Convent of Divine love was established. From then on subsequent foundations were made and the Congregation grew. Although some convents had to be closed down due to some problems and difficulties like our convent in China, Leobschütz, Germany, Lipa, Philippines and Austin, USA, nevertheless, new houses were continued to be built and established. To this date we have around 350 members and 22 convents in many parts of the world.
For a Servant of the Holy Spirit, every day should be a new Pentecost; every breath, “Come, Holy Spirit!”; every deed, “Send forth your Spirit!”; and every heartbeat, “Lord Jesus, send us from the Father the Holy Spirit!”
– M.Mary Michael –