Armenian Sisters Of Immaculate Conception Congregation founded in Constantinople on June 5, 1847.
The founder Antoine - Bedros IX Hasounian Catholicos - Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church and the first Armenian Cardinal of the universal Church , planned in the period of 1840 to build the Congregation of "Believer Virgins" in order to dedicate itself to the monastic and apostolic life and which principal aim must be to educate the girls of the Armenian nation particularly the girls of the poor class. This plan which was useful to the nation was realized with the contribution of Mother Hadji - Andonian who , from her teens , lived a spiritual and a benevolent life and being a "convent nun" she occupied herself with the education of the poor children. On December 9, 1847, the Mother with four devoted sisters vowed to God obedience , good sense and poverty with the engagement of the apostolic life.
That is how originated the "House of the Blessed Virgin": the Armenian Sisters of Immaculate Conception Congregation which principal aim was to teach and educate the Armenian girl's mind and soul with Christian , human and national values.
The congregation was regularly known and settled by the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal pastoral letter written on June 5, 1847, and by the pontifical pastoral letter written on June 11, 1932. The Congregation was subject to the Holy Father of Rome.
The Central House was first a very modest house built with wood. After many years, due to the founder Father's efforts, the Central House and the house for novices were built in Valide Cheoshme street of Pera. Then, in Constantinople, educational institutions were built: kindergarten, elementary and till high schools. After Constantinople, the mission field extended to Western Armenia and Cilicia in more than twenty cities and villages.
In the beginning of the 20th century , the Armenian girl was proud of her national education. She received knowledge and was formed with religious and moral values, in order to be prepared to be called for the future motherhood a true " Armenian Mother" . This lasted till the year 1915.
The Big Crime took place and stroke bitterly and destroyed with the Armenian's creative and thriving life , the convents and the working institutions of the Armenian Sisters. Thirteen cenobite sisters became martyrs and fifty-five others were deported and exiled.
In the morning of the truce , the Armenian Nun had an ardent responsibility: " to keep the Armenian remains, and be a mother full of care for the Armenian children who were deprived from their parents.
In 1923, the mother monastery and the house for novices were moved from Constantinople to a safe place , Rome , the eternal city. The mother monastery present building which was the gentle help of the founders of Malta and the fruit of the Armenian Catholic leaders and our Sisters' sacrifice , is situated on Monte Verdi hill of Rome in Vinchenso Monte street , No 9, and became the new cradle of the Congregation General Committee and the center of the religious organization of new nominations which bud again the exiled but always strong base of the congregation.
Is it necessary that the Diaspora reality became also the reality of the Armenian Sisters' life and mission. With the firm spirit of Armenians protection , it was necessary to build schools near to the orphanages and to forge the future of the exiled generations. In 1923, in Lebanon, the base of the Hripsimiants school was put . And then in Syria , Egypt, Jordan , Iraq, Iran, France and other places.
With this certain spirit , the Armenian Nun continued to walk with her immigrant people , and arrived till far and unknown horizons like the United States , in order to protect the young generations of the Armenian nation from degeneration. In 1965, she built the first Armenian school in Philadelphia city of the state of Pennsylvania . In 1980 and 1983 , the schools of Boston and Los Angeles were built.
In 1991, with the independence of our homeland, the Armenian Sisters' dream was realized. However, the horrible earthquake of December 7, 1988 was the real shock of the Armenian Sister's conscience. She was there in Sbidag, Gumri to soften our pain-afflicted people's irremediable sorrow.
In 1992, the first convent was a poor , cold and a modest house and constituted the mission place of three volunteer sisters, in the region of Akhourian of northern Armenia , 20 Km . far from Gumri , in Arevig village . From this obscure place was going to rise the light of faith and Evangelical love, to our native people who were deprived from the Speech of God for more than 70 years. It was the revival of the Christian Armenian. After Arevig, Gumri, then the Galinino region, in Dashir town with coherent villages and burgs then Heshdia at the extent of Djavakhk with its villages became the Christian , educational , human activities centers for the sisters. Big benevolent institutions, particularly the Armenian Alliance Association of the Armenian Catholic Church of Western Europe, supported the mission of the sisters. Actually, in Gumri, "the Holy Virgin of Armenia" of Robert Boghosian and sons, where it worked as educational institution, school , clerical school and social service places since six years . A large number of poor orphans and girls received with the scholar and university plan a healthy nourishment , and religious , cultural, fine arts and human education.
One of the fundamental and educational activities of Armenia is the realization of the summer quarterly camping plan. Only in Dzaghgatsor, each year till 800 poor children of both sexes are invigorated spiritually and physically.
The mother monastery in Rome is the principal center of the general committee. The general Principal Mother with four councilors are the legitimate authority of the Congregation, regularly elected during the general elective meeting of the congregation each six years. The house for novices, the place of the new members organization where the new candidates receive religious and scientific serious preparation. The congregation has also preparatory centers , small clerical schools in Gumri and Aleppo.
At the 3000 anniversary, the Congregation was already established for 157 years. During it's long life sometimes fertile and sometimes dried up , it went straight, struggled and tried to keep inalterable the soul of the Founder Father which is fidelity to God's will which was revealed with sacred rules and the command of the Principal Mothers". From the first day, the founder Father gave the book of regulations with the prayer book to his congregation as a guide and a guardian. He wrote : " a congregation can't be durable if its members don't have an order to manage regularly".
The congregation of the Armenian Sisters of Immaculate Conception holds one of the most beautiful title of the Blessed Virgin. Its general plan is: " to realize God's plan and to search only for God's glory". And its own aim is : "to serve for the Armenian people's children particularly of the poor class providing to them a religious , moral and national education.
Love towards God , love towards the Armenian Church and Nation is the power and the supreme ideal of the Armenian nun.
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