Daughters of St. Francis de Sales
The Daughters of St. Francis de Sales (DSFS) are a missionary congregation co-founded by Mother Theresa Fantoni and Monsignor Don Carlo Cavina, Parish Priest of Lugo di Ravenna, Italy on the 23rd of August 1872. The congregation was established for the intent of promoting faith, educating youth and empowering the poor with the charism: "Where the Cross Touches, Fruit Comes Forth." The heavenly patron of the congregation is St. Francis de Sales and the patroness is St. Jane de Chantal.
On the 30th of January 1931, the Congregation obtained the "Decretum Ludis" for its constitution and in 1939 the congregation was conferred with Pontifical Rights. At present, the DSFS serve in Italy, England, Poland, India, Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. Its apostolates include evangelization, education from pre-school through secondary school, vocational training, health care, orphanages, faith formation of youth, pastoral work, social work, the family apostolate, education and care of the physically challenged, health care of the elderly, girls' homes and hostels for working women.
The Generalate of our congregation is in Rome. Our present Superior General is Mother Corrada Magnani. She is assisted by four General Councillors. At present, the congregation has two provinces (the Italian Province and the Indian Province), one region (the Philippine Region) and one Delegation (the African Delegation). The congregation's charisms are to be apostles of prayer and to be educators of faith.
As apostles of prayer and educators of faith, we are called to continue the life of Mary who stayed at the feet of Jesus and Martha who was ready at his service. To be like Mary and Martha, a Daughter of St. Francis de Sales has to be "Stabant et Volabant" (Stay and Fly, which means: contemplation + action) as seen in a vision by the prophet Isaiah in 6:1-9. The prophet says that the Seraphim stood before the throne of God in continuous prayer and were ready to fly to do His will. The inexhaustible source that inspired our founder to give life to the charism as apostles of prayer was his ardent love of God. To be real apostles, we are called to be women of prayer, women inflamed by love and ardent in zeal, to be in union with God and to experience him in our midst.
The first community of our congregation in Africa started in South Africa in 1970. The community there is formed of Italian, Indian and African Sisters. Their main apostolate is education. The second community in Africa is in Morogoro, Tanzania. There we collaborate with the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS) at the Fransalian Primary School. All the Sisters working in Morogoro are from India. The third community is in Katani village in the Machakos Diocese of Kenya where the apostolate of education is carried out at Mother Theresa Fantoni Nursery School, plus our Sisters work with MSFS fathers at the St. Frances de Sales Integrated Primary School in Katani village, as well as serving in the mission at St. Joseph Parish in Mlolongo. The fourth community in Africa started at Imbaseni village in Maji ya Chai, Arusha, Tanzania in 2009. Here we administer and staff the DSFS Primary School. In 2012, we opened our formation house at Imbaseni village and began recruitment of young women aspiring to become Sisters of the DSFS to continue our congregation's mission and the evangelization of Africa. In East Africa, we are now eighteen Sisters, six novices, five aspirants and four students.