The Grail

An International Women’s Movement



Following World War I, changes were taking place, particularly in Europe, that stimulated political and social action.

In 1921, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Jacques van Ginneken, inspired a group of women students with his vision that lay women should transform the world. He formed a Catholic lay organization that was first called the Women of Nazareth and later adopted the name, The Grail.

Joining the original group were women students at the Catholic University at Nijmegan, the Netherlands, where Fr. Van Ginnekan was a professor.

The four who were generally recognized as the founders of The Grail included Mia van der Kallen,(1902 – 1939) Toos [later known as Lydwine] van Kersbergen, (1905 – 1998) Liesbeth Allard (1904 – 1991) and Louise Veldhuis.

After initial recognition in the Netherlands in 1921, the Grail was organized in Germany in 1932, in Australia in 1936, in the United States in 1940, Brazil and South Africa in 1951, Uganda in 1953 and Portugal in 1958. 

Growth and expansion continue to this day.  The Grail currently has entities organized in 20 countries around the world, and Grail members who work in at least 10 additional countries.