Sisters of the Infant Jesus

Sisters of the Infant Jesus

Founded, Date/Place 1666, Rouen, France
Founder Blessed Nicolas Barré (Minim Friar)
Canonical Status Pontifical Right
Motto Simple in virtue, Steadfast in Duty
Charism Caring for the needy and the marginalized through education, healthcare, Pastoral and Social Work
Mission Statement As Sisters of the Infant Jesus, Christ calls uswithin the Church to follow Him by dedicating our lives to the proclamation of the Good News especially to the simple and the poor. Deeply rooted in the mystery of the Incarnation, we do all in our power to foster the growth of all people in the image of God so that each one may be formed in the love and knowledge of God
Purpose Originally founded to help the poor children

Sr. Maria Mayor, IJ
Vice Provincial: Sr. Felicia Tarena Bethuel, IJ

Sisters of the Infant Jesus- Nicolas Barre
P.O. Box 573
Jalingo, Taraba State

Mobile: 07037943304, 08126379256


Our Apostolate

The Congregation of the Infant Jesus Sisters
Is an International Religious Institute present in 17 countries within four continents in the world. Its central administration is presently in Crawley, England and the mother House in Paris, France.

How it all began
The Congregation of the Infant Jesus Sisters was founded in France in 1662 (351 years ago), by a Franciscan Minor called Nicolas Barre. Nicolas was born in Amiens in France in October 1621. He was educ a t ed by the Jesuits and later experienced a call to enter the very austere life of the Minims of St Francis of Paola. In 1659 he was sent to Rouen where the social and religious conditions of the time meant many were living in ignorance and poverty.

At that period in France, quality education was available only to the elite of the society. Proper education was not for the poor and the marginalized, so many children were neglected and living on the streets. Blessed Nicolas Barre was deeply sad about the situation. After many years of prayer and deep reflection, he realized that the most effective way to promote the dignity of these children and bridge the gap between the poor and the elite was to provide quality education. With time, Nicolas Barre inspired a number of young women who dedicated their lives to educating the children and young people, helping them to know God and how much God loves them.

The scripture passage that inspired Nicolas Barre was; "God so loved the world that He sent His son..." Nicolas sent these young women out to towns and villages to make Jesus known and loved especially among the little ones and the poor.

The first Sisters formed Community in 1666. They desired to be totally dependent on the love of God for everything. In 17th century language this was known as 'abandonment to Divine Providence'. Such total confidence in God demanded deep faith as well as courage.

This abandonment to Divine Providence has been lived out in many ways since then and has inspired succeeding generations to join in the mission of the Institute as it has spread around the world and adaptedto the great variety of cultures and needs encountered.

With regard to the question of the future of the Congregation, as he lay on his death bed, Nicolas Barre put all in God's hands and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and prepared for death. This came on 31st May 1686.

Just over three hundred years later, at his beatification on the 7th of March 1999, we were reminded of his contemplative and courageous spirit. He was deeply motivated by the extraordinary love of God for all human kind who desires that all be saved and noone be lost.

Our Spirituality
The Congregation of the Infant Jesus Sisters has its origin in the mystery of the Incarnation "God becoming human: God among us." We identify with Jesus who left heaven and became even a little child, entering into the human struggle. We live out this great mystery by our simplicity of life, by our respect for the dignity of the human person and seeing God in everything. Hence our motto: "Simple in Virtue, Steadfast in Duty".

Where we are:
After working for 200 years in France, the Sisters began to hear Jesus calling them to "go out to the whole world and proclaim the good news" and so the Congregation began to go to wherever the Spirit led them. They established their presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Spain, Ireland, England, Italy and Thailand. Later they went to Peru and Cameroun, Nigeria and Bolivia. Recently they have opened missions in Burma, Philippines, Czech Republic and China.

Presence in Nigeria
The Infant Jesus Sisters came to Nigeria in 1983. At present we live and work in Jalingo and Kona in Taraba State, Yola and Ganye in Adamawa State and Jos in Plateau Sate. The Nigerian community is only a district and not yet a province. Our District leader lives and works in Ganye in Yola Diocese. Our formation house is in Bukuru, Jos in Plateau State.

The Infant Jesus Sisters in Nigeria are seventeen (17), twelve of which are Nigerians while the other five are missionary sisters. No Nigerian Sister works outside the country at the moment.

What We Do
As it was at its origin, the mission of the Institute has been lived out principally through Education. An ever changing world has presented new challenges and so new and creative ways to carry out this mission of 'education' have evolved.

Our desire is to make Jesus Christ known and loved through a variety of ministries which continue to evolve according to the needs in each country. Our particular focus is to reach out to those who are most in need.

At the present our involvements include ministry to children and young people wherever we are; support of migrants and the education of their children; working with prisoners and their families; teaching children with speech and hearing disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, we continue to teach in primary and secondary schools, to run medical centres in Africa and to be involved in pastoral and parish ministries. Our experience is that "the harvest is rich but the labourers are few." We pray that the Lord of the harvest will continue to send labourers into His vineyard.

Sisters in Perpetual Vows

  1. Sr. Anne O’Neill
  2. Sr. Antoinette O’Callahan
  3. Sr. Bernadette O’Reilly
  4. Sr. Rebecca Odu
  5. Sr. Felicia Tarena Bethuel
  6. Sr. Anna Patrick
  1. Sr. Francoise Ndjayo
  2. Sr. Benedicta Aidan Dadi
  3. Sr. Anthonia Emmanuel Tumba
  4. Sr. Fidelia Gowon
  5. Sr. Rita Raphael Shumen

Number of Sisters in Temporary Vows – 7


  1. Sr. Grace Sylacus Barkel Died: 15th January 2015