History of the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus in Romania

FCJ Sisters in Romania welcoming Pope Francis

History of the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus in Romania

The FCJ Society in Romania

After the fall of the Berlin Wall many religious congregations, including our own, turned towards Eastern Europe to explore possibilities for ministry. In January 1994 three FCJ sisters were missioned to two cities in Romania: Galaţi and Bucharest.


In 1992-93 two Faithful Companions of Jesus, sisters Maeve and Imelda, were sent by the FCJ Society to visit different countries of the former communist bloc to see how our congregation could support the local Church and to explore possibilities of ministry.

The first country visited by sisters Maeve and Imelda was Romania. They arrived in Bucharest on a Saturday, and on the Sunday went to a newly opened Catholic Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Bucurestii Noi, for Mass. Looking through their post a day or two later they found a letter sent by an Irish FCJ and which enclosed a photo of a tabernacle, which the Irish community had sent to Eastern Europe in response to an appeal for church ornaments for the former communist bloc. The sister wrote to Maeve, just in case Maeve and Imelda would happen to see it on their travels in Yugoslavia! Looking at the photo, Imelda immediately recognised the tabernacle they had seen in the church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Bucurestii Noi, the first church they had visited in Romania! An incredible moment and a real sign for them that God was already there waiting for our sisters to come to Romania! All in God’s providence!

In January 1994, as a result of their research, three FCJ sisters were missioned to Romania — Mary and Imelda to Galați in the east of the country, on the Danube river, and Margaret to Bucharest, Romania’s capital city, where Archbishop Ioan Robu needed an English teacher for the Catholic Institute of St Teresa, in Bucharest.

The FCJ Sisters offered support and encouragement to the Romanian people principally through education and English language programmes for children and students.

In Galați the Sisters worked closely with the Franciscan parish of St. John the Baptist, helping families in difficulty and offering catechetics. One sister went to help and care for little children at the State Orphanage and the other was teaching English to the lecturers in the University of Galați.

FCJ Community Bucharest on the eve of Sr Cornelia's vows
The FCJ Community in Bucharest on the eve of Sr Cornelia’s final vows


Since there were young women interested in becoming Faithful Companions of Jesus the first Novitiate was officially set up in Bucharest in December 1996. Over the years, some came and stayed with us, while others left. We thank God for our two Romanian Sisters who made First Vows in our Society in 2008, and in 2017, Final Vows.

final vows sr Gabriella FCJ romania
Final vows of Sr Gabriela, 2017

Up to 2003, the Sisters in Bucharest offered accommodation to students in their apartments. They taught English in the Catholic schools, Secondary and Tertiary levels. They also collaborated with the Jesuit Refugee Centre Pedro Arrupe, where for a number of years, sister Maeve was a valued co-director, instrumental in building up the JRS Centre with Fr Luc Duquenne SJ.

Teaching catechetics in the parish, reaching out to old people and families in difficulty, teaching English, working with children from disadvantaged and sometimes abusive homes, as well as facilitating over several years the Integration of Faith and Life course offered to groups of young people 2009 – 2012 by the Craighead Institute (from Glasgow, Scotland) – these are just some of the many opportunities for living companionship in love, compassion and trust.

From 2005, our FCJ community, in collaboration with other Religious Congregations, became involved in raising awareness of the growing problem of human trafficking, many victims coming from Romania.

FCJ Companions In Mission in Galati RomaniaA number of people caught by our FCJ spirituality, became more closely associated with us, as Companions in Mission, sharing the charism of Marie Madeleine and choosing to live it, collaborating with us wherever possible. The first group made their commitment in Galaţi in 2010. A second group was formed in Galaţi and one group in Bucharest.

In 2020, our activities included preparation for the Sacraments in the parish, supporting the elderly and families in difficulty, teaching English, spiritual accompaniment, psychological counselling, teaching in school, human and spiritual formation for different local and international groups, and supporting those who have been exploited.

In January 2024 we had the joy of gathering with friends and Companions in Mission in Bucharest  and Galaţi to celebrate and give thanks for thirty years of presence and mission in Romania. Read more about the celebrations here.

Mass of Thanksgiving for 30 years in Romania
Mass of Thanksgiving in Bucharest for 30 years of FCJ ministry and presence in Romania


Mass of Thanksgiving for 30 years in Romania
Mass of Thanksgiving in Galaţi for 30 years in Romania


Through their daily lives the Sisters witness to their charism of companionship with Jesus and with each other.