The Rich Heritage of Religious Orders in Education


By Sr Brenda Wallace fcJ, first appeared in the Conference of Religious England and Wales website

Religious Orders in Education, (ROE) is a collaborative endeavour launched in 2019 whose main purpose is to enrich Catholic education in England and Wales by supporting Religious Orders in their mission as trustees or founders of schools and colleges. To this end we celebrate and build on the rich heritage of Religious Orders in education and support them in continuing to articulate and develop their particular charisms.

Sr Brenda at the launch of ROE
Sr Brenda at the launch of ROE

Soon after the foundation of our Association, a working party was established to explore the formation of a Collaborative Trust with the aim of providing a service for those Religious Congregations that wish to transfer their responsibilities of educational trusteeship.

The Collaborative Trust has been given the name Gaudete, a name that proclaims that as a new community of schools we rejoice in the good news of the Gospel, we rejoice in the Holy Spirit who is enabling us to create something new and is teaching us what true collaboration means, and we rejoice in the rich heritage of Religious Orders in education.

The Gaudete Trust will exercise, fully or in part, according to need, those legal, financial, and inspirational responsibilities of educational trusteeship that were formerly carried out by these individual congregations. The Bishops’ Conference formally approved the establishment of the Gaudete Trust as a PJP in Spring 2022 and approved the appointment of the first Foundation charity Trustees at the end of May. Membership is open to any Religious Order but there are five founding congregations:

  • Christian Brothers
  • The Sisters of Charity of St Paul the Apostle
  • De La Mennais Brothers
  • The Faithful Companions of Jesus
  • La Sainte Union

As members of the Gaudete Trust, these Religious Orders will be able to remain engaged and involved with their schools.

The Gaudete Trust Vision and Guiding Principles for Education are available here.