The Good Shepherd Sisters answered a request for help from Bishop Paul Ambrose Bigandet, the first apostolic vicar of Lower Myanmar, arriving in 1866.
The pioneering sisters experienced many trials in the underdeveloped region inhabited by myriad ethnic tribes. The people suffered poverty, ethnic civil wars, illiteracy, and corruption. On top of this, the country suffered natural disasters like drought and floods. Low-technology farming, poor communication, and poor transportation systems also posed barriers.
In the 1960s the country went through a nationalization drive accompanied by an ideology of Burmese socialism. The anti-Western trend included xenophobia that worked to suppress the missionaries and isolate the country. The trends had disastrous impacts on the country's economy and worsened poverty.
Christian institutions were seen with suspicion and considered foreign. They were confiscated, and all nuns and missionaries were driven out of the country and the institutions fell into the hands of corrupt and unqualified staff. This led to the deterioration of education, health and social services in the country.
Meanwhile, a few Good Shepherd sisters returned in 1973 to re-establish the Good Shepherd missions. They engaged themselves in teaching catechism and the English language in seminaries.
From 1973 to the present, the Good Shepherd mission has grown remarkably in pastoral activities. The sisters are active in several dioceses and have established a strategic network with the local administration and NGOs. There are more than 50 sisters serving in over six communities in Myanmar.
The sisters now help provide education and vocational training for young women in social crisis. The sisters are active in healthcare. They run a boarding school for poor girls and day-care centers for HIV-positive children and the children of parents living with HIV or drug addiction.
The sisters also care for prostitutes, women at risk of human trafficking, and street children. They are active in prison ministry, social outreach and advocacy programs on human rights and dignity, gender equality, pro-life issues, ecology, justice and peace. They are active in interreligious dialogue, especially with Buddhists who constitute the majority religion in Myanmar.