Welcome to our website!
We thank you for viewing our website which tells something about our Congregation, ‘SOCIETY OF HELPERS’.
The Society of Helpers is an international Congregation of religious sisters with Provinces in Asia, Europe, Africa and America.
Our Foundress Blessed Mary of Providence got the vocation to help all people, particularly those who are forgotten and those who suffer,
right through to their final meeting with God.
We are contemplative in action, women who share our unique gifts in order to help in all manner of good.
Our religious life is based on Ignatian spirituality which invites us ‘to find God in all things’.
OUR FOUNDRESS AND OUR CHARISM
Our Foundress, Eugenie Smet, was born in Lille, a town in the North of France, on 25th March 1825.
The memories handed on to us speak of her zest for life and her ability to demonstrate this. From her childhood, her communicative love of life never diminished, even in the midst of spiritual and physical sufferings, which so marked the latter part of her life.
Her love for life was grounded in the experience which directed her entire life: the revelation of God as Providence. Because of her faith, Eugenie believed everything was possible with God and his encompassing love. She would ask him for everything, and in return she wished to give everything to him, “to be the providence of Providence”.
This desire gave her the audacity to found the Institute of the Helpers of the Holy Souls in 1856, in Paris.
Eugenie became Mary of Providence, and gave the new Congregation the motto: “Pray, suffer, work for the Souls in Purgatory”.
She wished her sisters “to relieve and deliver the souls who are completing their expiation before being admitted to the bliss of heaven, through constant prayer and the practice of the works of mercy”. This is the mystical dimension of the Communion of saints, which orientates the whole of Helper religious life.
Called to “help in all manner of good”, since the beginning of the foundation, she answered a request to take care of the poor sick in their “homes”, which were the lofts of Paris at the time of the second industrialization. The Helpers would go to nurse them – mainly affected by lungs TB – helping them and their families through every kind of concrete, moral and spiritual service.
In those poor and forgotten people, the sisters saw and touched the true members of the Body of Christ, the visible face of the suffering Church, as the Souls in Purgatory represent her invisible parts.
Mary of Providence died on 7th February 1871, after having endured a sickness which consumed her, leading her into communion with the experience of purifying love, the communion of those who are entering into their ultimate encounter with God.
She always refused to let her Congregation be defined by criteria of social and ecclesial usefulness.
“The legacy of Mary of Providence is essential to our understanding of ourselves as Helpers, as is the entire living and written tradition of the Institute. This legacy guides us in our fidelity to the founding intuitions of Mary of Providence and is the foundation of our unity” (Constitutions. 9).
The spiritual Charisma of the Congregation of the Helpers is built on the Pascal Mystery of Christ; following him until the depths of the life and death, the sisters commit themselves to his work of liberation which leads every person to reach the goal of her/his creation.
“We believe that there are no boundaries to love and that we are in solidarity with all those who follow Jesus Christ in his Pascal Mystery, whether they are on earth or have already passed through death. We support them through our prayer, action and communion with them in their trials, knowing that God’s transforming love is a gratuitous gift” (Constitutions. 18)