"Faithful to Gospel values, the charism of our Foundress and attentive to the signs of the times, we, the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus, commit ourselves to the transformation of lives through our prophetic witness of vowed life, community living, participatory leadership and apostolic ministry with a special option for the poor, women and children"
(9th General Chapter, 2008).

"Transformation of our Communities and the World in Christ."

Simplicity, Commitment, Respect, Justice, Loyalty, Unity, Humility, Generosity





























Brief history of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus


The congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus (HHCJ) was founded by Sister Mary Charles Magdalene Walker, an Irish Sister 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 areas of women’s education, Sister Mary Charles Magdalene Walker lived out the preaching of being all things to all peoples 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 thought in St. Joseph’s Convent School, Calabar, Nigeria expressed the desire to become like her. On January 15, 1931, these four women became the foundation members.


HHCJ Foundation Members

Lucy William                        Sister St. John from Limbe, Cameroon
Kathleen Bassey                 Sister Mary Ignatia from Calabar, Nigeria
Agnes Ugoaru                     Sister Mary Aloysia from Umuahia, Nigeria
Christiana Waturuocha       Sister Mary Gertrude from Mbaise , Nigeria

Were received as Postulant and she gave the name Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus to her new group. The cradle of the congregation is in Calabar, which from the onset has nursed and sustained the Congregation’s International and inter-tribal characteristics as portrayed by these foundation members, with its cherished charism of “Unity in Diversity”, as love of Christ urges us on.
The congregation was canonically erected in April, 1937 by Bishop James Moynah SPS, the Prefect of Calabar Prefecture while the Society of the Holy Child Jesus guided the formation and growth of the young Congregation the first Religious profession of Vows took place on 21st of April 1940. The Congregation became autonomous on 28th December, 1959 with mother Mary Gertrude Waturuocha, one of the foundation members, as the first Superior General of the Congregation and was granted “Decretum Laudis”   ( Decree of Praise) by His Holiness Pope Paul VI elevating it to a Congregation of Pontifical Right, on 29th February 1917. Its international and inter-tribal nature continues as members are drawn from all parts of Nigeria and from Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Italy, Germany, London, the United State of America,  Canada and Granada.

As a result of its growth in numerical strength and geographical spread, the 7th General Chapter of the Congregation (8th-26th March, 1996) mandated that the Congregation be divided into Provinces for effective administration and Apostolic Ministry. Consequently, four provinces were created as follows-three in Nigeria and one in Ghana.



Central Eastern province
Ghana Province
North Western Province
South Eastern Province




At the 9th General Chapter held in March, 2008 Kenyan Mission was raised to the status of a Region.


Mission Territories:


Cameroon Mission
England Mission
Germany Mission
Italy Mission
North American Mission (USA & Canada)

The model and patronage of our Religious consecration is the Blessed Virgin Mary who first declare “I am the Handmaid of the Lord” Be it done unto me according to your word. “(Luke 1:38) In her, we find the model of deep faith, humility, zeal, absolute trust in Divine Providence and dedicated attentive service to others. From her we draw the spirit of the Congregation which is that of “all-embracing charity” manifested in our motto of “Love and Service”.

Our primary apostolate consists in the witness of our consecrated life, fostered by prayers and apostolic ministry through:

Education: thought Education at all levels, ranging from Nursery Schools to Universities, we share in the teaching ministry of Christ as we teach, train and prepare our students to meet the challenges of life and not just to obtain the Certificate. Our Ministry extends to special schools for the handicapped children and adults. Love, justice dedication are the characteristic of our Schools.

Medical: Through Medical service, we participate in the healing ministry of Christ and serve the sick and suffering with love, patience and sympathy through improved health-care service in Clinics, Dispensaries, Primary Health Care Programmes, Maternity Homes, Homes for the ages and hospital. Home-based nursing is also within our ministry, as we work for the spiritual and material well-being of all without discrimination.

Pastoral Ministry: In our pastoral ministry, we follow the gospel mandate to “Go teach all the nations…” And impact the gospel messages to different classes of people. Since the young are the foundation on which to build a strong local church, we take pains to organize instructions and inculcate in the sound religious discipline. We engage in religious Education Programme, Retreats, Workshops, Parish and Prison Ministries.

Social Service: Here we attempt to imitate the love, sympathy, and concern of Christ as we the serve the under-privileged in our society, such as the orphans, single parents, unwanted babies, prisoners, mentally ill and other marginalized persons. We engage in Economic empowerment of women at all levels and encourage personal and community effort of self help-reliance and creation of job opportunities for the unemployed poor of our society.

Missionary Service: As members of the Church which is missionary in nature, we undertake missionary apostolate by readily and willingly going forth to manifest God’s love in His people, even “to the ends of the earth” In our missionary apostolic activities, we try to adapt to local conditions and identify with the people, after the example of Mother Mary Charles Walker, our Foundress.