Nigeria Conference of Women Religious (NCWR) came into being with the initiative of Late Cardinal Pignedoli, the then Apostolic Delegateto Nigeria. He first suggested a meeting of all the Sisters then. Thus in January 1963, an Assembly of Sisters from all part of Nigeria was held in Lagos under the aupices of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, which was responsible for organising it. Representatives from all Congregations were in attendance. The meeting lasted for a few days and there were serveral lectures and discussions. The Sisters had fruitful delibrations after which they resolved, with the suggestion of Mother Mary Eucharia Reynolds, MSHR to establish a Conference for Sisters to be held annually.

In May 1963 preparations for the inaugural meeting was initiated by Archbishop Pignedoli, Mother Mary Claver Ryan, MSHR, successor to Mother E. Reynolds collected relevant information from other Conferences and prepared tentative statutes. Rev. Malcom Galt CSSp, Secretary to the Catholic Secretariat of the then Eastern Nigeria, helped to put these statutes together.

On January 8, 1963 preparations for the inaugunal meeting was held at the Holy Rosary convent, Enugu under the chairmanship of Bishop Joseph Whelan, CSSP, of Owerri. The proposed Statures was discussed and adopted and National officers elected. These officers formed the Executive Council.

National President – Mother Mary Sebastian, MSHR
(Makurdi Northern Nigeria)

National Vice President – Mother Mary Michael Maxwell, EHJ
(Ugheli Western Nigeria)

National Sec/ Treasurer – Mother Theresa Xavier Dalton, SHCJ
(Ikot- Ekpene),

The statutes were approved by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria at their meeting in 1964.

Two years later, in January 1966, the 1st National Assembly was held at the Holy Child Convent, Obalende Lagos. According to the original statutes, the Conference was subject to the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, Which appointed one of its members, Bishop Joseph Whelan, of Owerri as chaplain, to the National Assembly. However, it was at this National Assembly that the Apostolic Delegate suggested to the President that the Conference should be subject directly to the Sacred Congregation for Religious.