History

The work of the Sisters has taken many forms over four continents – care of the poor, the destitute and the dying; nursing including pioneering work in the training of nurses at University College London and nursing the wounded on the front in the Franco-Prussian War; caring for lepers on Robben Island, South Africa, and for victims of cholera and smallpox epidemics; establishing and running schools, orphanages and a variety of hospitals and homes; and undertaking parish, mission and retreat work.

1851 – Harriet Brownlow Byron, Mother Foundress, establishes All Saints Sisters of the Poor, one of the first Anglican orders for women at Margaret Street, London, with the support of William Upton Richards, first Vicar of All Saints. The sisters are employed in nursing the poor and destitute in the parish.

1862 – All Saints Sisters tasked with the responsibility for nursing and nurses' training at University College Hospital, London.

1870 – Sisters serve on the front line in the Franco-Prussian War.

1872 – Three sisters are invited to work in a parish in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

1873 – Foundation stone for St John’s Home hospital laid by Prince Leopold (son of Queen Victoria), on land acquired by former All Saints Chaplain Father Benson, who moved to the parish of St James, Cowley, Oxford.

1879 – Father Benson invites All Saints to Oxford to run St John’s.

1899 – Foundation stone for new All Saints Convent at London Colney, Herefordshire, is laid by Bishop of St Albans.

1901 – Mother Superior and seven sisters move to new Convent at London Colney. By now there are about 300 sisters in the UK, USA, Africa and India.

1976 – Oxford becomes the Mother House of the community.

1982 – All Saints open Helen House in Oxford, the world's first hospice for children. Mother Superior Frances Dominica perceives the need for such provision after getting to know a seriously little girl called Helen, who becomes its first guest.

1986 – Having previously provided sandwiches and tea to the homeless at the Convent door, sisters open up part of the Old School building as a cafeteria and call it the Porch.

2000 – The Porch project moves into a separate building across the road to become an independently run day centre for the homeless.

2004 – Douglas House, a hospice for young adults with life limiting conditions is opened by HM The Queen.

2011 – Helen and Douglas Houses are honoured with the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

2013 – Sisters decide to move out of the large convent building and chapel, and move into other buildings on the site. They are delighted to welcome the Conventual Franciscans (The Order of Friars Minor Conventual of Gt Britain and Ireland) to join them on-site. The Friars had previously been living in Holton, near Wheatley, where they had established a house of formation.

2017 – The Porch is honoured with The Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

Further Reading
Peter Mayhew, All Saints: Birth and Growth of a Community. Society of All Saints, Oxford (1987, reprinted 1993)

Susan Mumm, ed. All Saints Sisters of the Poor: an Anglican sisterhood in the Nineteenth Century. Church of England Record Society, UK (2001)

» SS Mary and John Churchyard – Fact Sheet 6: Religious Orders

» SS Mary and John Churchyard – Fact sheet 7: St John’s Home and welfare projects initiated by the All Saints Sisters of the Poor

Contact Us

All Saints 15A Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RW UK
T: +44 (0)1865 249127 | E: sister@socallss.co.uk
W: www.allsaintssistersofthepoor.org.uk

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