➥  Areas  ➥  Servites in Jamaica  ➥  History

The start of new mission...


In November 1952, the first five sisters arrived in Kingston, Jamaica?in response to an invitation by Fr. Charles Judah sj to open a school in Brownstown, on the north of the island. From the quay at Kingston, the sisters went to the Constant Spring Hotel, Kingston, opened in 1941 by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany as a school for girls. The sisters stayed here for their first few days on the island. The hospitality towards Servites continues today as this is the location where the current general council have recently had their general council meeting (May 2011). Sr Christine Reilly (UK) is the only surviving sister of this first group of pioneers. Sr Rose Chang was one of the first pupils at the school. From the beginning until today, the sisters have been involved in the ministries of education and nursing.

In 1962, St Peter and Paul Preparatory School, Kingston, was opened and a community was formed at 107 Old Hope Road, Kingston. Four girls were too old to remain at the school, these girls became the first pupils of the high school and their classroom was set up in the sacristy of St Peter and Paul Church. In 1965, in response to the rapid growth of the school, the high school moved to a new location: Deepdene. The school later merged with Campion Boys School to become one co-educational school, where the Servite sisters continued to teach.

In 1973, Brownstown High School closed and at the same time two communities opened in both Falmouth and Lucea, in response to a request for the sisters to provide Pastoral support in these areas. In Lucea, the sister’s first home was above a supermarket. The Prep school in Brownstown remained in the hands of the Servite Sisters until 1977 and it still bears the name ‘Servite Primary School.’ In fact, Sr Rose was recently invited to the school to receive a plaque, honouring all that the Servites had accomplished in the school. The sisters remained in Falmouth until 1987 and in Lucea until 2009. In 1993, the sisters moved from 107 Old Hope Road, Kingston to their current house, 23 Barbican Avenue, Kingston.

Jamaica remained a international mission of the English Province until 1982 when it became a Region. In 1998, due to diminishing numbers, the five sisters on the island began a process of discernment and requested permission to experiment with a different structure. In 2000, a formal request was made to become a community under the Generalate.

Over the years, 62 sisters throughout the congregation, have served in ministry in Jamaica, and 17 sisters and associates have served as volunteers in the communities for up to a year. The sisters have lived out the Servite charism in Jamaica through: education; health; catechesis; liturgy; counselling; retreats and spiritual direction; peace-making and mediation.