Columban co-founder Father John Blowick originated the idea of an order of Columban Sisters in 1918.
He found a willing associate in Lady Frances Moloney, a Dublin resident and widow, who had expressed interest in a religious vocation and even founding a new order of nuns.
In May 1921, Fr. Blowick wrote to Mother Agnes Gertrude, the superior general of the Irish Sisters of Charity, asking if she would allow some of her congregation to join the Missionary Sisters of Saint Columban.
The first Columban Sisters professed in September 1924, under the leadership of first Superior General Mother Finbarr Collins (a relative of Irish independence leader Michael Collins).
In November of 1926 the first six Columban Sisters arrived in Hanyang, China. It was the historic beginning of the outstanding charitable work of the Columban Sisters in China and around the world.