Thus did St. Mary Euphrasia, foundress of the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) define the ultimate end of our mission. It is a mission directed to the most neglected and marginalized, in whom the image of God is most obscure.
St. Mary Euphrasia also established at the heart of the congregation the Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd (CGS). The Contemplative Sisters are called to witness to the primacy of God, to transform the world through prayer, silence, solitude, sisterly love, gospel asceticism and zeal, while giving a privileged place to the study and meditation on the Word of God.
The fidelity of the Sisters, both active and contemplative, is ensured by a fourth vow: to labor with Zeal for the salvation of persons.
In 1835, the Generalate was established in France.
The first RGS missionaries came to the Philippines in 1912. They were Irish Sisters who came from their mission in Burma (Myanmar). They crossed the seas for the young students who needed a Shepherd’s care through education in a Catholic School. They opened St. Bridget’s Academy (now St. Bridget’s College) in Batangas.
As the years went on, the meaning of “salvation of souls” was expanded to embrace the girls and women who were to be protected from moral danger or who needed help to reform their lives. The Sisters started the first Good Shepherd ‘home’ in 1921 in Sta. Ana, Manila. The legacy of SME came to life in such as setting for each girl was accepted as someone precious.
The spirit and mission of our first missionaries would outrun the lifetime of that generation of RGS and pass on to later groups. “Souls” again needed rephrasing. They now included women in various difficulties: unwed mothers, prostituted women, battered women, slum dwellers, landless farmers, indigenous groups, overseas contract workers and their families, streetchildren, the most neglected and oppressed.
In this new millennium, the RGS seeks to proclaim the Good News that the Good Shepherd cares yesterday, today and forever. Living out our specific orientation to girls and women, we strive to serve them in the context of the family and the society in which they live. As Good Shepherdesses, we wish to be “Life Bearers” for the poor of our world—following the Good Shepherd who leads us all to FULLNESS OF LIFE.