Motherhouse in a few words
In 1829, St Mary Euphrasia, at that time a Sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity founded by St John Eudes (1601-1680), established a community in what was the Tournemine Indian textiles printing factory, on the site of the actual Motherhouse.
Today the Motherhouse includes the International Community, the Congregational Spirituality Centre, the association Good Shepherd Guesthouse and the new Museum of the Good Shepherd. There are also some communities and the offices of the Province of Europe BFMN on site.
Close to Angers city center, this is an important and symbolic place for all the Sisters around the world.
Within the Motherhouse
The International Community
In 1991 an International Community was established at the Motherhouse.
Currently there are 12 Sisters from 9 countries: Argentina, South Korea, Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Peru.
The Sisters animate the Good Shepherd Guesthouse and the Spirituality Centre in Angers.
The Spirituality Centre
The Spirituality Center coordinates the spiritual animation of the Congregation. It offers retreats, pilgrimages, accompaniment for groups and individuals, days of reflection, training sessions, etc. Its role is to share the spiritual, human and historical heritage of the Congregation and encourage research.
Clic here for more information.
Good Shepherd Guesthouse
The Guesthouse welcomes individuals and groups in a friendly serene atmosphere, all year round.
It is an ideal resource for a short break, a business trip, or for personal or spiritual reflection. The vast wooded park, the banks of the Maine River and the low lying valleys give a pastoral setting to the Good Shepherd Guesthouse, an ideal starting point to discover the Anjou region and the Loire Valley, classified as a UNESCO world heritage location.
Clic here for more information (in French).
The Good Shepherd Museum
Open to the public from July 2016, in the building where the Sisters settled on their arrival in Angers in 1829, the Museum traces the history and the mission of the congregation from St. John Eudes and St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier.
Besides making known its roots, its mains objectives are to communicate the mission of the Sisters and lay Mission Partners in France and internationally as well as increase public awareness on current social issues.
Thanks to a dynamic and modern scenographic circuit in the three official languages of the Congregation (French, English, Spanish, the story of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd is honoured from its origins until now.
Clic here for more information (opening times, admission fees, etc.) (in French)
The Province - Europe BFMN
The Congregation is organized in 41 Units, one of which is the Province of Europe BFMN. Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd is represented in Belgium, France, Magyarorszag (Hungary) and Netherlands, by around 350 apostolic and contemplative Sisters and 320 missions partners.
The Sisters live out their mission in 30 welcoming communities close to the people. The Congregation also initiated some social organizations: CHRS (Accommodation and Social Rehabilitation Centre) and MECS (Social Housing for Children) in order to provide programmes of support and reintegration to women who suffered violence, to people migrating and young girls in situations of distress and exclusion.
Clic here for more information on the Province - Europe BFMN (in French)
Les Eudistes, Secours catholique, Mouvement du nid, Fnars, Restos du coeur, Emmaüs, Habitat et humanisme, Secours populaire, Les Champs de Booz, Contre la traite des êtres humains, Ligue des droits de l’homme, Pastorale des migrants, Union Diaconiale du Var (UDV), Banque alimentaire, Arsinoe, Agemme, SAWA, Mission Langues, AAVAS, Renate.
Places of interest
The first Chapel was built in Mary Euphrasia’s time in 1832. It was then refurbished and painted in 1857 in the roman style. Marks of the paint can still be seen.
The Sisters’ choir was transformed in 1945 and then reconstructed between 1958 and 1960. The stalls, established during this reconstruction, recall the ones that used to exist in all monasteries. The stained glass window is the work of Mr Jean Coquet, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyons. Made in 1969, it represents the theme of the Redemption, Christ’s love giving his life to save all the people.
St Mary Euphrasia’s reliquary was made after her canonization in 1940. It is a life-size wax representation of her, and she wears the habit and blue chord which are characteristics of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. Inside are some of her relics.
St Mary Euphrasia lived and worked in this room for about 30 years. She died there on 24th April 1868 aged 72. Nothing was changed in her room and office which were carfully preserved by the Sisters. In 1942, two years after her canonization, her office became an Oratory. It was then renovated in 1953 and in 1977. In these two rooms, some of her personal objects are kept, such as her habit, her shoes and her portrait at 29 when she was superior in Tours. The press divided into storage spaces which she had made to organize the voluminous correspondence she received from houses all around the world is still intact today.
Since 1953, the same lamp burning in front of the tabernacle is light week after week for each province of the congregation.
The Magnificat Garden
This monument, erected where Mary Euphrasia had her first office, recalls an event on August 15th, I834. It was the feast of the Assumption and the day when Mary Euphrasia was inspired, during the singing of the Magnificat, to write a letter to Rome cardinal Odescalchi. In this letter she asked for the creation of a Generalate for the Congregation.
The Chapel tombs
This small chapel consecrated to the Immaculate Conception was built in 1835 thanks to the generosity of Countess d’Andigné. It houses the tomb of Mary Euphrasia and 4 Superiors General who succeeded her are also buried here: Sr. Marie-Pierre de Coudenhove (1868-1892), Sr. Marie-Marine Verger (1892-1905), Sr. Marie-Domitille Larose (1905-1928) and Sr. Marie-Ursula Jung (1940-1960).
The mother-of-pearl Stations of the Cross was given to the community of Imola in Italy (near Bologna) by Pope Pius IX when he was Bishop of Imola.
Inaugurated in June 2012, it replaces the old Calvary.
It is a circular path where pilgrims walk. It symbolizes an interior journey, a pilgrimage. The labyrinth circuit automatically arrives at the centre of the spiral, representing our own interior journey. So it is a labyrinth to find oneself and not a maze in which to lose oneself. It is today a spiritual tool used by the Sisters during the retreats and pilgrimages and it is also open to the public at large (on reservation).
The Good Shepherd moulding facing the labyrinth used to be on the façade of the building that was demolished in 1997, alongside the street now called “Marie-Euphrasie Pelletier”.
The tunnel is 55 meters long and links the gardens of the Motherhouse with the former Saint Nicholas Abbey. Bought by Sr. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier in 1854, the Abbey was situated outside the monastic enclosure which the Sisters had to respect.
The building of the tunnel between May and August 1855 was a creative and practical way to connect the Motherhouse and the Abbey while observing the canonical rule.
St. Nicholas Abbey, founded in the 11th century by the Count of Anjou Foulques Nerra welcomed women and girls placed in the care of the Congregation for several years.
Today, half of the building is occupied by the language school « Mission Langues », which welcomes and trains religious and lay people in French for their mission in French speaking countries.
Guided tour and spiritual experiences
You are a group of 10 people and you would like to discover the Motherhouse?
The Congregational Spirituality Center offers you 3 possibilities:
Discovering Motherhouse site
From the Tournemine Indian textiles printing factory, to the local mission of the sisters today and the charismatic work of Sr. Mary Euphrasie Pelletier in France and on the 5 continents, discover the history of this place. On nearly 15 hectares, the site includes ancient buildings and green areas which will lead you to the tunnel constructed in 1855 and to the façade of the thousand years old St. Nicholas Abbey.
(Admission fees: 3 € per person for groups of 10 or more – around 1h15 - on reservation)
The labyrinth experience
Come and discover the labyrinth experience through a 15 minutes video presentation followed by the labyrinth walk. You will be able do this at your own pace and share about it afterwards if you so wish.The labyrinth is always accessible and free for guests who want to go through it on their own.
(Free participation - 10 people maximum – around 1h)
The tunnel experience
The tunnel of the Motherhouse is a space to rediscover yourself.
A place which helps us to reflect on the difficulties we sometimes go through in life.
For St. Mary Euphrasia, “everyone has the possibility tof finding a solution to her/his problems”.
Experience moving out of darkness into light, because there is always light at the end of the tunnel…
(Free participation - for a group from 6 to 20 people maximum – around 1h)
Contacts for reservation
To book a the guided tour “Discovering the site of the Motherhouse" please contact:
By email: email@example.com
By phone: 02 41 37 59 49
To book a spiritual experience (“The labyrinth experience” or “The tunnel experience”) please contact:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone: au 02 41 37 59 47