The Daughters of the Holy Spirit is a Roman Catholic Religious Congregation founded in Brittany, France in 1706. The first Daughters chose to live together and serve the poor, the ill and the children, recognizing in all of these the person of Jesus Christ.
The first Daughters were attentive to the calls of the Spirit and entrusted themselves to Mary, their advocate with the Holy Spirit. Through the centuries the Sisters found ingenious ways of surviving revolution, persecution and the plethora of changes that religious life has seen since the early seventeen hundreds.
It was as a result of anti-clerical persecution in France that the first Daughters came to the United States in 1902. While Bishop Tierney of the Hartford, CT diocese was the first to welcome the small group of French Sisters, it was not long before their presence was requested by Bishops in Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York State to minister in
neighborhoods and parishes that were being impacted by the sudden arrival of French Canadian laborers coming to work in the fast-expanding textile mills. To these communities, the French-speaking Sisters were true God sents. In January of 1906 the first American woman, Marie Pinelle(Sr. Ernest Alvarez) of Swanton, VT, entered the Congregation, Later that spring, she was joined by two other women: Cora Marquis(Sr Cecilia du St. Esprit) from Leominster, MA and Ida White (Sr. Alvarez de St. Yves) from New Haven, CT.
As their numbers increased, the Sisters were able to expand their ministries to include pastoral and social services that they offered not only in New England and New York but also in Alabama, California, Appalachia, and the Del Marva Peninsula. Belonging to an International Congregation, members of the US Province have often joined forces with their Sisters from other countries and continents to serve the populations of China, Chile and Peru, Cameroon, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Romania, and Canada.
At this point in time, the Congregation has become a vibrant “spiritual family” offering three different membership possibilities: the apostolic religious, the associates and the consecrated seculars. These ways of belonging and sharing the DHS spirit are opportunities for women and men of varying languages, cultures, backgrounds and careers to join their hearts, heads, and voices in reaching out to others on 4 continents in the name of Jesus and following the calls of the Spirit.
DHS Habits in Evolution
Like most religious congregations of women founded in Europe a couple centuries ago, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit wanted to be a part of the cultural community of their time. They wanted to be viewed as simple women who did not stand out except by the exemplary lives of charity and faith they tried to live day in and day out.
The following doll models show the evolution in the dress or habits of the DHS beginning with the typical dress of the peasant from Brittany, France to modified and/or adapted versions to meet the changing times and ministries until modern days when the dress of the typical woman is once more the norm.