Section title text:  Our Spirit.

Stella Maris—the Generalate

The Generalate, situated right beside the North Foreland lighthouse, is the home and place of work of the central administration of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. Called Stella Maris (Star of the Sea, a title of Mary) it is in Broadstairs, Kent, England. The tomb of the foundress, Marie Madeleine, is in the Stella Maris Chapel. The Society archives and heritage room are also located here. 

Views of the lighthouse and English Channel from the grounds of Stella Maris.

At different times in the Society’s history, for reasons of political security or convenience of administration, it has been at Carouge, Ste. Anne d'Auray, Paris and Brussels.

Front of Stella Maris and side door.Today Stella Maris, as well as providing a home and workplace for members of the general leadership, is regularly used for formation programmes and as a centre for Society meetings.

Local church groups often avail of its facilities and beautiful location for gatherings. 

A small community of sisters, while supporting the work of the central leadership and welcoming visitors to Stella Maris, has extensive outreach in the local area. The ministry of Stella Maris is enhanced by the generous and capable support of our lay staff.

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

The tomb of the Foundress of the Faithful Companions of Jesus, Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy de Bonnault d’Houët, rests in the chapel at Stella Maris, and is a place of prayer and pilgrimage for members of the Society and others. The picture on the left shows the mandala painting, a visual expression of the Society's charism and spirit.

Stella Maris chapel showing grave and mandala painting.      Grave stone of Marie Madeleine in the Stella Maris Chapel.

Venerable Marie Madeleine Victoire de Bengy de Bonnault d'Houet,
21 September 1781—5 April 1858
Foundress
Faithful Companions of Jesus
'le bon Dieu a tout conduit lui-même'

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Society Archives

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The FCJ Generalate Archives is located at Stella Maris Convent in Broadstairs, Kent CT10 3NR, England.  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

The documents are housed in a purpose built archive with environmental control, and 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 up to 2003.  

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Any enquiries can be addressed to:
The General Secretary
Stella Maris Convent,
North Foreland,
Broadstairs, Kent CT10 3NR
England. 

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. 

Samples of Marie Madeleine's handwriting.

Samples of Marie Madeleine's handwriting ... where she copied the Constitutions of the Jesuits

Pictures of the first voyage to Canada ... before cameras!

Pictures of the first voyage to Canada - 1883... sent by the travellers in the days before cameras!

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Heritage Room

This room has an interesting collection of papers and artefacts relating to the life of Marie Madeleine and the history of the FCJ sisters.

For example:

The coffee pot, tea pot and cruets which belonged to Marie Madeleine and which were given by her to Gumley House Convent in Isleworth. 

Coffee pot.   Tea pot.   Cruets.

Explanation of cruets:
A cruet is a small jug used for serving oil and vinegar, for example, at the table or for holding wine and water at Mass. Cruets were often highly decorative, made of blown glass which was etched or of cut glass. When designed as part of a set for the table, the set included cruets for condimients such as salt, pepper, dry mustard, sugar, etc.

 

The crucifix given to Marie Madeline by Father Nérinckx

Crucifix given to Marie Madeleine, front view.       Crucifix, side view.

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:

Portable 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 consitutions written in Marie Madeleine's lifetime:

Constitution pages, Parts I-III.

Constitutions pages, Parts IV-VI.

Constitutions pages, Parts VII-IX

Constitutions, Part X and testimony of M. Marie de Bussy fcJ.

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:

Samples of 19th century artwork.

Further samples of artwork.

The creative spirit of the Sisters of the 19th century lives on in a variety of ways today; some samples are available in the creative corner of this website.

 

A folio of watercolour paintings and illuminations presented to Josephine Petit fcJ in 1885, on 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.

Hilingin natin sa Ating Diyos na ibigay sa atin ang espiritu ng “Society of Jesus”
       sapagkat nasa atin ang Konstitusyon,
                   at ito ay ipinagkaloob ng espiritu ng Diyos.     (Marie Madeleine)