Jesus came to be one with us




  • Our founders
  • Our beginnings

Louis-Marie Baudouin & Charlotte-Gabrielle Ranfray

LMB and CGR pictures

A man and a woman - prophets for their time

Louis-Marie Baudouin

In September 1789, the year that the French Revolution broke out, Louis-Marie Baudouin was ordained priest. Refusing to obey a law to bring priests under the control of the revolutionary government he was imprisoned twice. After this he went into exile in Spain where he lived for five years. While in exile he thought of all those suffering in his own country and he longed to be able to do something. He returned to France in 1797. However, he had to go into hiding again in Sables d’Olonne from where he set about, in secret, providing for the spiritual needs of the people who had been deprived of Mass and the sacraments for a long time.

It was there he met Charlotte-Gabrielle Ranfray.

Charlotte was a Hospitaliere Sister in La Rochelle. After 17 years of community life, doing the work she loved, her life was shattered as one of the effects of the French revolution was the closing of many convents. On meeting Louis-Marie he invited her to forget “the sweet solitude of her monastery and live in the midst of the world in order to go out to the poor; the helpless; the children who were in need of education; all the sick who needed nursing; and to help priests in their mission of evangelisation”.

Then began the Congregation of the Daughters of the Incarnate Word, now known as Ursulines of Jesus.

First UJsOn July 2nd 1802 Charlotte Gabrielle Ranfray arrived at Chavagnes-en-Paillers, in La Vendee, France in a cart, with five companions. In this parish devastated by the revolution they came to open a modest boarding school for young girls, at the request of the new parish priest, Louis-Marie Baudouin.

In post revolutionary France the first Sisters were involved in rebuilding the Church through prayer, educating children, nursing the sick, working with priests and restoring family life.

Chavagnes-en-Paillers became the cradle
of the Congregation

Chavagnes-en-Paillers photo

As time went on the Sisters began to increase in numbers. Answering new demands led to opening new foundations in other European countries as well as Canada, South America and

First foundation in each country

France: Chavagnes 1802
Scotland: Edinburgh 1834
Wales: Swansea 1860
Spain: Victoria 1882
England; London 1894
Italy Albenga 1903
Holland: Masstricht 1904 - 1995
N. Ireland: Coleraine 1906 -1930
USA: Waterville 1911-1920
W. Canada: Edmonton 1911
Morocco: Rabat 1938-1946
S. Ireland: Dundalk 1949
Cameroon: Saint Andre 1952
Chile: Chiloe 1953
E. Canada: Lafleche 1953-1971
Nigeria: Gambar 1973-1995
Bolivia: San Ignacio 1977
Ecuador: Santa Barbara 1994

From 1985 onwards we have responded to urgent needs with temporary involvement in Romania, Rwanda, Guatemala, India, Salvador, Honduras and Zaire.