Daughters of the Cross

The Daughters of the Cross of Liège (French: Filles de la Croix) are Religious Sisters in the Catholic Church who are members of a religious congregation founded in 1833 by the Blessed Marie Thérèse Haze, F.C. (17821876). The organization's original mission is focused on caring for the needs of their society through education and nursing care.



The founder, born Jeanne Haze in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, was forced into exile with her family in Germany whenFrench Revolutionary Army forces occupied her principality. Her father died during that period, leaving the family in poverty.<ref name=FC /[1]

Her family returned to Liège. After their return, because of their own experiences, Haze and her sister Ferdinande felt drawn to help people in most need. When their mother died in 1820, the sisters wanted to enter a religious community, but were not able to do so due to the restrictions of Church law at the time. In an answer to a request by their pastor, Canon Cloes, the Dean of St Bartholomew Collegiate Church, the sisters opened a school for poor children in the parish in 1829 in the home of the curate of the parish, Canon Jean-Guillaume Habets.[2] The creation of an independent Kingdom of Belgium the following year allowed them to establish the school officially as a Catholic institution.

The emblem of the Daughters of the Cross of Liège

Soon other young women joined the pair in their desire to follow the consecrated life. Habets, originally skeptical of their desire, came to support them. He helped the group to write their Constitutions.[2]

On September 8, 1833, the Haze sisters professed perpetual religious vows, receiving the names Mother Marie Thérèse and Mother Aloysia in the Carmelite Church of Potay, next to their own convent. Two other companions, Sisters Clara and Constance, made their temporary vows for one year and two postulants began their novitiate. Thus the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross was established under a Rule of life based on Ignatian spirituality.[2]

The Daughters of the Cross took over the administration of a women's prison in 1841 and a house for the rehabilitation of prostitutes the following year. In 1843 they opened a shelter for the homeless, which housed 125 residents.

The congregation was formally approved by Pope Gregory XVI on October 1, 1845, thereby raised to the status of a congregation of pontifical right. By that time the congregation had grown to 84 Sisters who operated 4 schools, with a total enrollment of about 1,000 girls. Of those girls, 80% were given a free education. Their Constitutions were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1851.


The Sisters began to serve in other countries with their establishing a foundation in Germany in 1849. At the invitation of the Vicar Apostolic of Bombay, they opened schools in the British Raj in 1861. This led to their working in the United Kingdom in 1863.[2]

United Kingdom

Haze sent her Sisters to England in 1863. In the United Kingdom, the Daughters of the Cross are constituted as a registered charity. In 2006–7 it had a gross income of £56,197,000,[3] making it one of the 100 largest charities in the United Kingdom.




Current status

The congregation opened institutions in the Belgian Congo (1910), in Ireland (1920), in the Netherlands (1924), in Italy (1929) and in Brazil (1953). In 1975 the Sisters numbered about 1,500 members, serving in 113 institutions worldwide. By 2009 the membership had been reduced to 833 Sisters, a quarter of whom were Indian.

The General Motherhouse of the congregation was moved from Liège to England in 2012.


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