The Sisters of Mary of the Presentation, are women who have come together to serve the people who had suffered persecution after the French Revolution. They are an International Religious Community founded in 1828 in Broons, France by two sisters Louise and Laurence LeMarchand. These women were invited by their pastor, Fr. Joachim Fleury to teach the children who did not have any religious instruction. The also visited the sick, the disabled, and the elderly.
When Fr. Fleury returned to France after the Revolution, he saw that many of the children in his parish did not know about God. Mass was celebrated underground, the soldiers had destroyed the churches. Father Fleury listened to his people tell of how religious practices had been abandoned, of how they were suffering both materially and spiritually. He asked the two LeMarchand girls to help teach the children. The children did come to their home but soon it was too small for both the family and the children, so another house was found nearby. After teaching, Louise would go about town visiting and caring for the sick. There were no hospitals in those days, this was the beginning of Home Health. They also sponsored spiritual retreats – many people participated in these experiences which affirmed and deepened their faith.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, there was another religious persecution and the Sisters were forced out of France. The Sisters went to Belgium, Canada, Guernsey, and the United States. In 1903 several Sisters settled in Wild Rice, ND and formed a primary school. In the same year, several Sisters settled in Spring Valley, Illinois and opened a hospital. Back in France, the French government dissolved the congregation in 1914. The Sisters were forced to flee their Motherhouse to the island of Guernsey, off the coast of England. When World War II broke out the Superior General of Sisters of Mary of the Presentation went back to France and volunteered twenty nurses to the French Government. The decree of dissolution was revoked on December 8, 1923, and the Sisters set up “Military Hospital #13,” which became the Motherhouse of the order. In the 1950’s the Sisters started five missions in Cameroon, Africa.
United States Province
In the United States, the Sisters started a hospital, expanding bit by bit. Eventually growing into the SMP Health System, consisting of four hospitals and five nursing homes. The US Provincial House is located at Maryvale Convent in Valley City, ND. At Maryvale, the Sisters provide hospitality, provide retirement care for Sisters, and host spiritual retreats.