There has been a very close collaboration between the Sisters and lay persons
since the beginning of our Congregation in 1636
The Associates are Christians who choose to live their baptismal commitment in the Church and in the world according to the spiritual family of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.
“The freedom of the children of God”
Whether married or single, we commit ourselves to deepen the spiritual heritage
bequeathed by the founder, Jerome Le Royer
, a layman and father of a family and Marie-de –la Ferre, cofoundress of the Congregation of Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph to live our specific mission in the Church, in our family and professional life:
“Announce to the world a loving God who unites”
Jerome Le Royer was inspired by God to establish the Congregation of Daughters of St. Joseph in LaFleche, France. However, he was confronted with many obstacles to pursuing this mission. Subsequently, he asked the Bishop to establish a Confraternity of the Holy Family
, bringing together lay men and women wishing to live their Christian life intensively.
He was granted permission by Bishop de Rueil in February 1636. A few months later, in May 1636, the Congregation was founded according to the spirit of the Founder, “the spirit of this family is that of the freedom of the children of God”.
This spirituality was also that of the Confraternity.
History does not trace the evolution of this confraternity during the centuries which followed. However, in 1985
, the Congregation returned to its origins and proposed the foundational elements of the confraternity to Christian persons who wished to live the spirit and charism of the Congregation.
Consequently, in 1985, the first groups of Associates were formed in New Brunswick, Quebec, France, Ontario, United States, in Peru and in 2009 in the Dominican Republic.
Currenly, there are 19 groups consisting of 254 committed Associates and 34 in formation. By September 1st, 15 out of 19 groups will have a lay person as Director. The objective is to allow the Associates to have their own lay identity while totally sharing the spirituality of the founders of the RHSJ.