In 1940 providence brought to the Coast of West Africa, Cardinal Riberi as Papal Delegate to the British East and West African Colonies. IN that capacity he visited Lagos and was quick to notice the absence of African girls in the rank and file of the religious and stressed the tremendous need for African Sisters in Nigeria.
Archbishop Leo Hale Taylor took up the challenge and in 1943 founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.
The Congregation started at Abeokuta with five Postulants, having as its first Novice Mistress and Superior General the late Rev. Mother Enda Barrett O.L.A. Later in 1946 the Congregation moved its Novitiate and Mother House to Ibonwon. The Congregation was successfully ruled by Rev. Superior General Berardin, Eli, Patrick, Benedict and Columcile – all Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles Congregation.
The Founder’s “whole purpose for founding the Congregation is to have educated African Sisters that must stand by its Constitutions”. He believed firmly that the Congregation thus founded will be ‘a great missionary power’.
The founder was quite insistent on the observation of very strict religious exercises. Emphatically he maintained that although there are great needs for the performance of the works of mercy and charity, the sisters were not founded chiefly to supply these needs. Realizing that they will not be able to perform their duties properly without thorough training he insisted on their being properly trained in the understanding and practice of the religious life. They are chiefly to exercise the virtues of religion and to do good in so far as this helps them to be holy. (Ref. Founder’s Letter to Rev. Mother Berardin – 19th of January 1947 and to Rev. Patrick 29th of January 1957).
Above all Archbishop affirmed that a true Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Sister’s life must be centered on the daily celebration of the Eucharist.