In the small Quercy town of Gramat,a few kilometers from Rocamadour, in the house of an artisan cutler, Pierre BONHOMME was born on July 4 1803.
After training in the minor seminary of Montfaucon (Lot), he attended the Royal College of Cahors where he received a bachelor’s degree and entered the major seminary of Cahors.
He was ordained priest when he was 24 years old and was soon afterwards sent to Gramat.
Father BONHOMME died in Gramat on September 9 1861. He was beatified in ROME on March 23 2003.
Known as “The Quercy Missionary”, Father BONHOMME was a tireless apostle who in 1832 founded the Association of the Daughters of Mary which took in 109 young girls. Witnessing the misery of old people, often abandoned without care, and children roaming in the streets of Gramat, Father BONHOMME wished to open a hospice and a school. He talked to one of the members of the Daughters of Mary, Hortense PRADEL who in turn spoke to her sister and her friends. After a week’s retreat before Our Lady of Rocamadour, they made the vow of dedicating themselves to God in the religious life.
At that moment the CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF OUR LADY OF CALVARY was born.
Today the Sisters of Our Lady of Calvary have their home in the Mother House of Gramat, « the cradle of the Congregation », near the resting places of Blessed Pierre Bonhomme and the Congregation’s foundresses, Hortense PRADEL (in religion, Mother Thérèse) and her sister Adèle PRADEL (in religion, Mother Vincent).
The Congregation continued to develop in France, and at the beginning of the last century the Sisters travelled across the Atlantic to Brazil and Argentina; in 1959 they went to the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Burkina Faso. In 1999 the dream of Asia became reality in the Philippines and lately in Vietnam. For the Sisters around the world, the Mother House of Gramat continues to be the place « source » where the Calvarian Family (lay and religious) meet joyfully together to deepen the Spirituality that inspires them and to share their ever-renewed Charisma.
For many years the Congregation has offered welcome to individuals, families, friends, groups of young people and adults who are seeking a place of rest or of spiritual and human renewal. Long-term or short-term stays are available the whole year round.
At the end of 2015, the Congregation decided to entrust to the Association of LE GRAND COUVENT the mission of developing and organizing its residential activity. This Association consists of Religious and Lay people who undertake to make alive, now and for the future, this precious cultural and religious heritage.