The Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus (H.H.C.J.) was founded by Sister Mary Charles Magdalen Walker, an Irish Sister of Charity (now known as Religious Sisters of Charity), who came to Nigeria in 1923 at the invitation of Bishop Joseph Shanahan, CSSp. She came to help in the work of Evangelization and most especially in the area of women’s education. Mother Mary Charles Magdalen Walker lived out the preaching of being all things to all people as she engaged in any ministry that would uplift the standard of life of the people she served. She was an Educator, a Medical Personnel, an Evangelist, and a Social Worker. Her desire for an indigenous Religious Congregation was fulfilled when four of the young women she taught in St. Joseph’s Convent School, Calabar, Nigeria expressed the desire to become like her.
Its international and inter-tribal nature continues as members are drawn from all parts of Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, England, and Kenya. Presently, the Congregation has houses in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Italy, Germany, London, the United States of America and Canada.
Our main apostolates include medical, education, pastoral and social work . Our Congregation is divided into four Provinces; three in Nigeria and one in Ghana. Our Principal house is Generalate HHCJ, Ifuho, P. O. Box 155, Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State.
The Foundation Members from L-R:
Lucy William - Mother St. John from Cameroon
Kathleen Bassey - Mother Mary Ignatia from Calabar
Christiana Waturuocha - Mother Mary Gertrude from Mbaise
Agnes Ugoaru - Mother Mary Aloysia from Umuahia