On the 2nd May 1871, Alice Ingham, a 41-year old Lancashire woman, her stepmother and two friends began community life together.
In Franciscan simplicity and apostolic zeal they worked for the poor, ignorant, sick and dying in the mill town of Rochdale. They earned their living and the resources with which to help the poor, by means of a Millinery and Confectionary shop on the ground floor of their house on Yorkshire Street, Rochdale.
In 1878, this small group, encouraged in their Franciscan ideals by Fr. Gomair Peeters, O.S.F., was called by Herbert Vaughan, then Bishop of Salford, to go to London to the Missionary Collegevhe had founded to take over the domestic economy of the seminary of the St. Joseph’s Society. On 8 Sept. 1883, Alice and eleven companions all professed members of the Third Order Secular, made Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in a new Religious Congregation, now known as the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph.
Our first 5 missionary sisters left for Sarawak in May 1885. Our missionary activity spread to Cameroons, West Africa in 1925, to Kenya, East Africa in 1929, USA in 1952 and South America, Chile and Peru in 1972, and later to Ecuador.
Today our sisters live and serve in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Ecuador, Kenya, Uganda and the U.S.A.
In the Borneo States and Kenya and the Philippines we have assisted in forming local Religious Sisterhoods.
Cardinal Herbert Vaughan