Our Lady’s Bower is a VoluntarySecondary School situated at Retreat Road, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.It was established by the sisters of La Sainte Union des Sacre Coeurs in 1884 and is a sister school to L. S. U. in Banagher, Co. Offaly.
Until June 2014 our School was residential and day. Boarders were accepted from the age of twelve and the convent had accommodation for 130 girls. Our School now numbers over 700 students.
As a girls only school, Our Lady’s Bower attracts students from across the midlands and beyond as well as from Europe and overseas, so enhancing the school’s cosmopolitan hue.
The congregation of La Sainte Union was founded in Douai in Northern France in 1826 by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Debrabant, to minister to the spiritual and educational needs of children in the aftermath of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.
The sisters were always missionary minded, and by 1860, a network of small but highly efficient schools covered the Diocese of Cambrai and had spread across the frontier into Belgium. Some years later a congregation was established in Bath, England.
By 1863, La Sainte Union Sisters had opened a school for girls in Banagher, Co.Offaly.
In May 1884, a small group of Sisters took possession of their newly-built Convent on the esker on the eastern edge of Athlone.
Since the Bower’s foundation over 135 years ago it has evolved into today’s fully-equipped school, at the forefront of education in the Midlands.
Nowadays, the Sisters of La Sainte Union are involved in development in Tanzania, Cameroon, Haiti, Benin and Argentina. They are active in education, health and social work.