Saint Gregory’s Bath commemorates La Sainte Union Sisters’ significant contribution to education in the city of Bath
On Friday 24 October, a ceremony was held at Saint Gregory’s Bath to celebrate the significant contribution to Catholic education of the Sisters of La Sainte Union. Staff, past and present, governors and Sisters from La Sainte Union came together for the unveiling of a plaque in the main entrance at Saint Gregory’s, commemorating the dedication of the Sisters to Catholic education in the city of Bath since 1858.
The Sainte Union, or Holy Union Sisters, have their origin in early 19th century northern France. As their movement grew they saw a need to see to the Christian education of the youth in post-revolutionary France. The Sisters were the first to pronounce public vows as La Sainte Union in 1843.
Through their links with the Benedictine monks in Douai, the Sisters were able to extend their mission to England. With the growing numbers of Catholic immigrant workers drawn to the country by industrialisation, the Sisters recognised a need to support education in this country.
Headteacher, Raymond Friel, thanked the Sisters for their work and dedication to the education of children in Bath.
“In 1858 the Sisters came to Bath and set up a school which provided an education for hundreds of girls until its amalgamation in 1979 of the Bath Convent Girls’ School with Cardinal Newman School at Odd Down to create Saint Gregory’s.”
“Their legacy to education in Bath lives on with a thriving community of Catholic schools, including our new sixth form, The New Sixth.”
John Ryan, Founding Headteacher of Saint Gregory’s, after the amalgamation of Cardinal Newman School and La Sainte Union Convent School in 1979, said, “Please pass on my personal best wishes and gratitude to the Sisters of La Sainte Union for the major contribution they made to the founding of Saint Gregory’s in 1979.”
“The outstanding roles played by three members of the Congregation in the initial phase of the School’s life: Sr Margaret (First Deputy); Sr Vicky (Head of RE); Sr Una (Maths) and of course Sr Imelda, (LSU Mother General) who made the crucial decision to close the Convent school, to enable the amalgamation of Cardinal Newman and the Convent School to take place.”
“She was also a key member of the initial Governing Body of Saint Gregory’s. I am personally immensely grateful for the Sisters’ unstinting support for the Saint Gregory’s project.”
The plaque was blessed by Canon David Ryan, Parish Priest of St John the Evangelist, Bath and unveiled by Sister Alphonsus.