Gumley House Convent, the Generalate

Gumley House Convent, the Generalate

The home and place of work of the central administration

The Generalate, the home and place of work of the central administration of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, is at Gumley House Convent, Isleworth, in West London. Gumley House was built about 1700 and the property was bought by Marie Madeleine in 1841.

The History of Gumley House, Isleworth, London

At different times in the Society’s history, for reasons of political security or convenience of administration, the Generalate  has been at CarougeSte Anne d’AurayParisBrussels and Stella Maris, Broadstairs.

The Generalate was moved from Broadstairs to London in October 2012.

The Society’s Archives are housed in the Generalate and there is a small Heritage Collection.

Society Archives

The FCJ Generalate Archives are located at Gumley House. The archives contain the substantial records of the foundress, Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy de Bonnault d’Houët.

Much of the remainder of the collection comprises the records generated and maintained in the government and administration of the Society by successive General Superiors. Its purpose is:

  • to promote an understanding of the organisation and the history of the Sisters FCJ
  • to further historical research
  • to enable good administration
  • to provide records as a reference for various uses
  • to provide statistical data
  • to preserve the records, history, and spirit of the FCJ Sisters

Any enquiries can be addressed to the Generalate through our contact page. Whilst the Archive is private, and as such, is not open on demand, it may be made accessible to the public by arrangement with the archivist and according to the FCJ Archive Policy.

Heritage Collection

This collection contains papers and artifacts relating to the life of Marie Madeleine and the history of the FCJ sisters.

The crucifix given to Marie Madeleine by Father Nérinckx

This crucifix was given to the Foundress, Marie Madeleine, by Fr Nerinx, the priest who in November 1830 entrusted to her the charity school and church in Somers Town, London, England. She subsequently presented the crucifix to a parent of one of the first students at Gumley House, Isleworth, London, England. It seems that this student went to Australia and gave it to Vaucluse, Richmond, the first FCJ community in Australia. Reverend Mother Philomena Higgins brought the crucifix back to Gumley in 1922.

Marie Madeleine’s writing desk

This is a well-used example of a 19th century portable writing desk, which could be carried easily from room to room and used at a table. Marie Madeleine used this desk when staying at Gumley House, Isleworth, England.

Handwritten copy of pages from our first Constitutions written in Marie Madeleine’s lifetime

The Constitutions of St. Ignatius, called by Marie Madeleine, dearer to her than life itself, was the Rule she wanted for her Society of Faithful Companions. The pictures from the Archives show her own handwritten copies which were subsequently transcribed within her lifetime by another Sister. The first pages of the latter copy of the ten parts of the Jesuit Constitutions are shown above, together with a testimonial to their authenticity by M. Marie de Bussy fcJ and dated 1891.

Samples of art work created by the sisters in the 19th Century

View below a folio of watercolour paintings and illuminations presented to Josephine Petit fcJ in 1885, on the 25th anniversary of her election as the second general superior of the Society. These paintings were done by by a gifted, though anonymous, FCJ sister in Paris.

A folio of watercolour paintings and illuminations by FCJ Sisters

A painting of our charism

Gumley House holds a mandala painting, a visual expression of the Society’s charism and spirit. It was born out of our reflection on the ways in which our charism of companionship – the special gift that we are called to offer to our world and church – could be depicted in visual form. Read more...