The Cross of Christ traces for us a way of growth, to receive the fullness of God’s gift, enabling us to help all people to open themselves to the grace of the Passion of Christ, a power always at work in the world ( R.O.L pg. 2 ) .
The Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross had its humble beginnings in the year 1838 in a small village called Chavanod in the beautiful mountainous region of Haute Savoie in France. The situation created by the French revolution (1789-1797) and the Industrialization of Europe (1750-1830) affected very much the socio-economic and political conditions of France and especially the region of Savoie.
At this time, there lived at Chavanod, in the service of the presbytery, a pious, energetic and devoted person: Claudine Echernier. She was a native of Feternes, a small village of Chablais, and belonged to an extremely poor family.
Having lost her mother at the early age of 15, she had to bring up her little brothers and sisters and could leave her home only when she was 27 years old. In the presbytery of Chavanod, she began to gather around her, children and young girls of the parish, in order to teach them reading, writing and catechism.
Fr. Peter Mermier, a zealous priest and Founder of the Missionaries of St.Francis de Sales was deeply moved by the poverty and illiteracy that prevailed among the poor in the society and he sought for ways and means to remedy the situation.
He envisaged the founding of a new type of religious congregation which would permit poor young girls to live a consecrated life in the midst of the world. At the time of the Mission he preached at Chavanod in 1838, he met Claudine Echernier. Some of the girls who came to her every Sunday were animated by the fervour that she communicated and yearned to dedicate themselves totally to God and to the service of His people.