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Our history

1706. At the port of Le Légué, in the bay of Saint-Brieuc, in Brittany, France, on December 8th 1706, two women from modest families, Marie Balavenne and Renée Burel, commit themselves to live together to serve God by serving the poor, the sick and the children. They are encouraged and supported by M. Leuduger, a diocesan priest, Director of Missions in Haute Bretagne.

1733. The sisters ask and receive official approval from the diocesan church. They are known as "The Sisters of Charity of Plérin" or "The White Sisters" or "Daughters of the Holy Spirit." "The Houses of Charity" are established mainly in the countryside parishes.

1789. The French Revolution: religious congregations are suppressed. The 75 Daughters of the Holy Spirit are dispersed, but they keep the charism close to their heart faithfully: "To love and serve Jesus Christ in the person of the poor." As soon as the storm passes, most of the communities are reconstituted and others are founded throughout Brittany.

In the 19th century. In 19th century society, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit are at the service of the poor in every possible way, especially in times of epidemics: cholera, dysentery, typhus... They adapt to the needs of the times. They live simply among the people and participate in parish prayer.

1901-1905. In 1902 because of the laws of secularization, schools close one after another leading to the departure of sisters to other countries. The Congregation opens beyond Brittany: Belgium, Holland, England, the United States, Canada. This encounter with different cultures changes and enriches the manner in which this service to the poor is carried out by the sisters.

Still in response to the appeals of the Church, the Congregation sends sisters
- in 1936, to Manchuria. They are expelled from there in 1951 by the communist regime.
- in 1954, to North Cameroon.
- in 1962, to Chile.
- in 1964, to Nigeria1978.
- in 1974, to Chad
- in 1979, to Peru
- in 1994, to Burkina-Faso,
- in 2004, to Romania

1994. The Congregation of the sisters of Notre Dame de Briouze, in Normandy, merges with the Congregation of the DHS

1987. Commitment of the first Associates in the United States of America. 1996. Official recognition of the Associate Movement, men and women attracted by the spiritual tradition of the Congregation, wanting to deepen the grace of their baptism and to put themselves at the service of the Gospel.  

2003. The Congregation of sisters Hospitallers of the Holy Spirit of Poligny merges with the Congregation of the DHS

2003. Founding of the Secular branch of the DHS (consecrated seculars)



Filles du Saint-Esprit 15 bd. Sebastopol 35101 Rennes Cedex 2 France

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