Special Character

School Charism

Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions

On Christmas Day 1861 in Lyon, France, Euphrasie Barbier founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM - Religieuses de Notra Dame de Missions). She was also known as Mother Mary of the Heart of Jesus.

Four of her Sisters arrived in New Zealand from France in 1861. Their foundation school was St Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College in Napier, established in 1865. Euphrasie first visited New Zealand 1872. By 1960 the sisters had started and were teaching in fifty-eight primary schools and fourteen secondary schools in New Zealand.

St Joseph's, Stratford was blessed to receive its first Sisters in 1897 and they established our school. The first Principal at St Joseph's School was Sister Margaret Mary, who was a Mission Sister.

The Mission Order honours Mary, as the teacher of Jesus, prayer and being a missionary to others. This is the basis of our school's Mission Statement - " Our Mission School cares and shares like Jesus, through serving others - He Manaaki, He Atawhai. "

If you want to find out more, visit the web site of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions www.rndm.org.

The Sisters’ emblem indicates the letters of their religious name as RNDM from the French name Religieueses de Notre Dame de Missions.

our houses


Sister Euphraise Barbier established the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions


Bishop Jean-Baptisete Pompallier brought Catholicism to New Zealand from France.

Margaret Mary

Sister Margaret Mary was the first principal of St Joseph's School, Stratford


Bishop Peter Cullinane was the first Bishop of the Palmerston North Diocese.