order of the INCARNATE WORD

Our History

Our History
  • France 1625–1690
  • France 1697
  • France 1790
  • France 1800 - 1850
  • France 1817
  • Texas 1851
  • Port Isabel, TX 1853
  • 1st Texas home
  • Texas 1853
  • US Late 1800s-1900s
  • Texas 1850-1898
  • Mexico Early 1900s
  • Late 20th century
  • Incarnate Word Today
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France 1625–1690

During her life, Jeanne established four monasteries in France: Avignon in 1639, Grenoble in 1643, Paris in 1644, and Lyon in 1655.

Having professed her vows just the night before, Jeanne died September 11, 1670, leaving her Sisters a wealth of writing for guidance.

We owe the Incarnate Word a love as strong as death, a love that never says, 'Enough' (Jeanne Chezard de Matel, Treatise on the Beatitudes).

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France 1697

During the 17th century, the first monasteries flourished and additional monasteries were established at Anduze (1697) and Roquemaure (1697)

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France 1790

However, when the Revolution swept through France, the Incarnate Word houses shared the fate of all religious houses throughout the country. They were quickly suppressed by the Decree of 1790. Evidence indicates that some of the Incarnate Word Sisters were among those who gave their lives to prove their love for Christ during this time of upheaval.

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France 1800 - 1850

The Sisters who survived persecution were dispersed from the monasteries. Many struggled to remain faithful to their commitment to the Incarnate Word, protecting the relics and writings of Jeanne, and the other guiding documents of their Order.

The year 1817 marked the restoration of the Order in Azerables, a tiny French village. From this unlikely center, monasteries again spread out to other locations in France.

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France 1817

From Azerables, this second birthplace, all the houses of the Order throughout the world trace their roots. Father Stephen Denis worked with Sister Mary Anne of the Holy Spirit Chinard-Dedieux to refound the Incarnate Word in the small parish.

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Texas 1851

In 1851, responding to the request from Bishop Odin of Texas, four Incarnate Word Sisters traveled from Lyon to Texas to serve in the field of education.

Sr. Claire Valentine, only 23 and the youngest member of the group, was charged to lead Sr. Ange Barre, Sr. Dominic Ravier and Sr. Ephrem Satin from France to the New World. They departed from their home March 23, 1852.

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Port Isabel, TX 1853

After a 3-month voyage and 7 months in Galveston learning English and Spanish, the Sisters landed at then Point Isabel in the middle of January, 1853, and traveled to Brownsville.

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1st Texas home

The Sisters’ first shelter in Brownsville was an old dilapidated warehouse.

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Texas 1853

On March 7, 1853, a few weeks after the Sisters’ arrival, Incarnate Word Academy was opened. Thus the Incarnate Word Sisters established the site of the first Incarnate Word monastery in the New World, the first school of any kind in Brownsville and the second Catholic school in all of Texas.

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US Late 1800s-1900s

From this humble beginning, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word grew throughout the Americas.

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Texas 1850-1898

In the United States today there are four independent congregations:  three in Texas in Victoria, Corpus Christi and Houston; one house is located in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Mexico Early 1900s

The Brownsville community also sent Sisters to Mexico. 

In 1927,  a house was established in Cleveland, Ohio as a result of religious persecution in Mexico.

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Late 20th century

From these communities, Sisters have been missioned throughout Mexico, to Central and South America, to Africa and to reconnecting with our European roots in France and Spain. 

Another branch of the Incarnate Word family can be found in the life of the Sisters of the Charity of the Incarnate Word (CCVI). 

To find out more of their story see

http://www.sistersofcharity.org (Houston, Texas)
http://www.amormeus.org  (San Antonio, Texas)

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Incarnate Word Today

Today, the family of the Incarnate Word numbers 11 independent Congregations who serve worldwide. Four centuries after her birth, Jeanne’s mission of extending the Incarnation continues through the efforts of her spiritual children scattered throughout the world.