As well as other founders of religious institutes, V. Scheppers was also interested in women congregations.
The core of a sister congregation
The core of a sister congregation was already made by a group meeting each other before 1830. From 1819 onwards some pious young women joined under the conduct of the canon Henry Crabb, the priest of Sint-Rombouts cathedral.
When he left for a trip to Rome in 1842, he trusted the leadership of his group to his friend V. Scheppers. That contact was the motive for V. Sheppers to found a sister congregation step by step.
Future sisters in the “Begijnenstraat”
In 1844, immediately after the departure of the friars to the renovated monastery at the Melaan, he made the future sisters move to the “Begijnenstraat”. They lived there in community.
An improved institution of the sisters
The 9th of November 1854 the congregation of the sisters of the Lady of Mercy was improved by cardinal Sterckx. Seventeen sisters received the convent dress.
Catherina Peréé became the first Mother Superior. The members of the congregation applied themselves to education and taking care of ill and aged people. For a few decades they took care of the infant school in Mechelen. Besides the house in the “Begijnenstraat” they also opened a settlement in the “Drabstraat”.
The Lorette school
The elementary school for girls that was opened in 1860 in the “Begijnenstraat”, became the “Lorette school”, and included infant school, elementary school and secondary education. A few years later the sisters could already move to Walem and Halle.
An admission of the congregation by the pope was never requested. At the end of the 20th century, the congregation felt obliged to stop their activities.
Source: SCHEPPERS, OUR SCHOOL by An Hermans, printed in 2002