History of St. Emilie de Vialar

Historical Background

Saint Emilie founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition in Gaillac in France. On Christmas night in 1832 she set out with a few friends and the new Congregation was born.

Emilie was very sensitive to the problems of the poor of her time. She also had a very modern outlook, great personal courage and great faith in God.

In her life Saint Emilie had many setbacks and many problems to overcome, but her faith in God and belief in her mission gave her courage to persist in her aims.

She says

"…if God did not breathe into me the spirit of zeal,

my heart would cease to be quickened

and then I would not be able to do anything".

She believed that a school was an apostolic means of offering help to the neighbour, and for her, education meant the education of the whole person. Each child was unique and the whole aim of Christian education was to help each child discover the personal love which God has for her. For Emilie, a great respect and concern for each child marked the ideal relationship within the school.

Her ideas and her instructions to her sisters were very modern in attitude. Education was not merely academic but more importantly it should teach the students how to relate to the people around them.

As a result of her convictions Saint Emilie prepared the first Constitution, which would serve as a guiding light for the Sisters/Teachers.


First Constitution 1835

In the First Constitution of the Congregation, Saint Emilie gave her Sisters nine points to help them in their teaching and in educating the children entrusted to them in a Christian way:

1. God knows and gave us our talents. He has entrusted us with a mission. We need first of all to pray for help.

2. An educator should be consistent in her behaviour. She should be clear and firm.

3. Use silence, it calms down excitement, brings back tranquillity and re-establishes order.

4. Nothing is more effective than good example. In word, dress, behaviour and actions, a teacher must always be a model for the students. The teacher should be firm but gentle.

5. A teacher should be vigilant. This means following carefully everything that is going on in the behaviour and work of her students.

6. A teacher should be ready to freely help the poorer child, whether materially, academically or emotionally.

7. The teacher must be impartial towards the students in her charge. Each student has a right to the care and attention of her teacher.

8. There should be uniformity in our teaching so that our students know what to expect from us. This gives them a sense of security.

9. A teacher should never be away from her class except for when it is absolutely necessary. She has a responsibility to give her students the best of her talents. There should be regularity in class.

These principles that are meant to regulate the life of a teacher within a St Joseph School are further elaborated by the values which Saint Emilie developed. These values help to place in perspective the vision that Saint Emilie had for the Christian educator.


Our Vision

St Emilie says:

"The principal aim of a Convent School is often considered to be solely the imparting of secular knowledge. I endeavour to impress on the Sisters that their chief ambition should be the implanting of a deep and extensive knowledge of religion and the duties it involves".

St Emilie, 1854


Spiritual Values

 To be familiar with the spiritual patrimony of St Emilie and share it with others;

 To witness to the tenderness of God in our everyday life;

To respect values and beliefs different from our own in our everyday life;

To second Divine Providence.

"Use your strength to make Him known and loved by your students. Inspire in them a dominant love for the Lord; let that be your aim". St Emilie


Human Values

To be of service to each person, to respect his/her dignity and take into account all his/her spiritual, physical, psychological and socio-cultural needs;

To help each person discover his/her talents and potentialities, to achieve an aim in life;

To give personal attention to each one: to instil self-confidence, trust and a sense of commitment;

To show concern for the less privileged: to give special attention to persons with material, psychological and moral difficulties;

To make sure that each person is accepted and loved;

 To offer young people an experience of life founded on gospel values.


Co-responsibility and Solidarity

To assure one’s responsibility for the mission;

To encourage dialogue and team spirit amongst the personnel;

To develop a healthy collaboration at all levels for a better service;

To encourage dialogue and solidarity between the different schools in our Province.


Competence and Adaptation

To encourage an on-going formation at all levels;

To update our schools regularly… to answer to new needs;

To be ready to take risks and accept changes for a better service;

To evaluate periodically the objectives of the school;

To cherish the patrimony handed down by the Congregation and take initiatives to develop and enhance it.


Charter: Sisters of St Joseph, Malta