The Handmaids and our History
Saint Christina’s School was founded in 1949 by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as an Independent Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Westminster. Since then the School has grown considerably and continues to flourish, always seeking to meet the needs of all of its pupils in an ever-changing world. Saint Christina’s belongs to a charitable trust (Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), and forms part of a world-wide family founded by Saint Raphaela Mary in the nineteenth century. To read more about the life of St Raphaela Mary, please visit the ACI England website.
The Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are an international group of Sisters with convents and schools in 25 different countries all over the world, including Saint Christina’s School, here in London.
Founded by St Raphaela Mary in 1877, the Handmaids are eucharistic women, who are called to be partners with Christ in his mission to bring reconciliation and healing to people’s hearts, to their relationships with God, with one another, and with the whole of creation. They are committed to making the Mass come alive in their worship, their lives and their ministries, sharing a sense of awe and wonder and trying to enable as many people as possible to come to know Jesus Christ.
The Sisters are also educators with the unique mission to educate with love, so that children all over the world can learn to love God and other people. Saint Raphaela Mary inspired the Sisters’ educational mission when she said, "the teaching in our schools is more than a profession; it is a priestly function and the school building is more than a school, it is a sanctuary." For us that means that teaching is a vocation and that the school is a sacred place. St Raphaela also believed that education can change society and that we are called to educate the poor out of their poverty.
Like St Raphaela, the Sisters are passionate about people, especially the most disadvantaged and “those on the move” for whatever reason. From her they also inherited Ignatian Spirituality, which inspires them to try to to be women with and for others, who find God in everyone and everything.
Above all the Sisters are “contemplatives in action”; women with a rich life of prayer. Every Handmaid spends several hours each day praying; wrapping the whole world and, in particular, Saint Christina’s School in God’s loving care.
Here in London there are currently three Sisters in the Handmaid Community: Sr Margaret, Sr Noella, and Sr Anne, all of whom love Saint Christina’s passionately and offer the school their wholehearted support.
2019 marked 70 years since the School was founded. We are always reaching out to past pupils and parents to pull together photos, history and positive memories of Saint Christina’s in a celebration of the School’s history. If you, or anyone you know came to the school, please do get in touch with us on 0207 722 8784, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by joining our LinkedIn group.