Call to England and Beyond 

 
 
Geneviève Dupuis had a strong faith and faced the challenges of building up a new religious congregation with courage and zeal. Her “story” began in 1835 when Fr. Tandy became Parish Priest of Banbury, Oxfordshire. He opened a school for poor children and was helped by Mary and Winifred Norbert who spoke very enthusiastically of Chartres, France, and the Sisters of St. Paul there. Fr. Tandy invited the Sisters from Chartres to come to Banbury. 
 
 
 
 
Sister Zoile (Geneviève Dupuis) with her companion, Sister Joseph Maria Sapiens, were appointed to this mission and in June 1847 they arrived in Banbury. She faced the difficulties of a foreign language, a different culture and material poverty but her vision was to form a community deeply rooted in Christ who would provide education for the poor. Under her wise leadership the congregation expanded so much so that during her lifetime she opened 88 convents, the “motherhouse” moved to Selly Park, Birmingham, in 1864. 
Plans to open a convent and school in Ireland (Kilfinane, Co. Limerick) were well under way when Geneviève died on 25th September 1903. 
 
In 1910 a teacher-training college was established in Selly Park. Staff and students were evacuated to Woodchester, Gloucester, at the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1946 the college moved to Rugby, Warwickshire and was known as St Paul’s College of Education, Newbold Revel. Unfortunately, due to government cut backs the college closed in July 1978. 
In 1954 the Sisters were invited to open a convent in South Africa, in the Rustenburg area. The Sisters ran a mission hospital and schools for primary and secondary school students and had an outreach to remote villages where they provided secretarial training and courses in varying life skills. 
 
In 1958 the Sisters facilitated the founding and training of a new Congregation of native Sisters - the Sisters of St. Brigid. This Congregation is now autonomous. 
 
Following the overthrow of President Ceacescu in 1989 the Sisters responded to an invitation to go to Romania. Initially they worked with street children and ran soup kitchens but were soon invited to open pre-schools, primary schools and a secondary school. Sisters are also involved with children and teenagers who have special needs. 
 
In 1995 the first Romanian Sisters were welcomed into the Novitiate. 
 
The mission of the Sisters of St. Paul is on-going and continues Geneviève’s vision of reaching out to the poor. 
Newbold Revel College of Education 1946 - 1978 
Sisters of St Brigid 
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