Our Roots

Sr ColletteMother Collette Tierney

Although our inspiration goes back to the 12th century in the figure of St Francis of Assisi our FMDM story begins in 1884 at Holly Place in Hampstead, London where we find a group of three Third Order Secular Franciscans helping in the parish. These three women became religious and after a period of expansion and great struggle we find a community in Aldershot, Hampshire looking after around 100 orphans.

From these very poor and humble beginnings we find our early sisters opening a 17 bed Maternity and General hospital in Guildford, Surrey. The spirit of this place attracted young women and the fire and passion for mission was kindled under the leadership of Mother Francis Spring. It was from Mount Alvernia Guildford that our first missionaries were sent to China and Zambia (Northern Rhodesia as it was known then) in 1947 and we took our new name Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.

Mother Francis SpringMother Francis Spring

As the Congregation grew in numbers and our mission expanded to all continents we established, in 1956, Ladywell as our Motherhouse, away from the busyness of Mount Alvernia Hospital.