Franciscan Sisters

views updated


This entry reports on the congregations of religious women that look to St. Francis of Assisi for inspiration. Most follow the Third Order Regular Rule of St. Francis. For the historical development of the rule, see franciscans, third order regular. Some have papal approbation; others are established with episcopal approval in a particular diocese. The members of these communities profess simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Each congregation is governed by constitutions designed according to its own specialized mission and particular ministries. In most cases the inventory that follows gives the official title of the congregation, the acronym each uses, and a number in brackets that refers to its listing in the Official Catholic Directory, where the location of its headquarters, and current statistics can be found.

Many of these congregations are members of the Franciscan Federation Third Order Regular of the Sisters and Brothers of the United States, an organization comprised of male and female religious in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean who follow the Third Order Regular Rule of St. Francis. The mission of the Federation is to promote exploration and study of Franciscan evangelical life and its implications for contemporary society. The Federation provides national and regional opportunities to collaborate, gather, and celebrate so that the brothers and sisters can better live the Third Order Regular call to conversion, contemplation, poverty and humility.

In 1991 the members restructured the Federation into six geographic regions. The goal of regionalization and regional steering committee is to provide service to the members of the Federation and to increase grassroots participation and networking among the members.

See Also: poor clares.

[r. roddy]

Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (OSF) [1810]. A congregation founded in Cracow, Poland, in 1457, when St. john capistran established the reformed branch of the Friars Minor in that city. A group of tertiaries, ladies of the Cracovian nobility, desiring to lead a life in common like that of the daughters of Bl. angelina of marsciano in Italy, formed an active community of the Third Order of St. Francis. Because these Franciscan sisters attended liturgy in a church dedicated to the then recently canonized St. Bernardine of Siena, they became known as the Bernardines. St. Agnes, the first convent of the Bernardine Sisters, was erected in Cracow in 1457; from it a new foundation, that of St. Joseph, was established in the same city in 1646; St. Joseph Convent gave rise to the Sacred Heart Convent, which was founded at Zakliczyn-onthe-Danube in 1883. From there, the Bernardine sisters came to the United States in 1894.

During the first decades of its existence, the community was engaged in caring for the aged, nursing the sick, and instructing the poor. In time, however, the Bernardines became strictly contemplative; although they remain such in Poland, they engage in active work in the United States. The first American house of the congregation was opened at Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, in 1894. Thaddeus Jachimowicz, pastor of St. Joseph's parish, petitioned the Zakliczyn convent for sisters to educate the children of the parish. Mother Jadwiga Jurkiewicz obtained a dispensation from the cloister for the sisters who were appointed to this apostolate and sent three sisters, under the direction of Mother Veronica Grzedowska, to Mt. Carmel. In the course of a year circumstances forced the sisters to move to Reading, Pennsylvania, where they received a gift of ten acres of land from Msgr. George Bornemann that became the site for their permanent home. In 1901 the novitiate was established; in 1912 the first general chapter was held in which Mother Hedwig Leszczynska was elected the first general superior. Until 1918 the community remained under the jurisdiction of the Reformed Friars Minor in Poland. Because of disrupted communications with Europe caused by World War I, the congregation became diocesan in 1918. That year it received provisional approbation of its constitutions, and on May 6, 1941, the Holy See gave final approval to the constitutions, and the community returned to its former status of a pontifical congregation.

Originally engaged in elementary grade teaching and care of orphans, the community gradually extended its activities. Teaching, the major interest of the sisters, was expanded to include kindergarten through college, and to this was added social work, hospital care, nursery care, and retreats for women. The sisters progressively spread their apostolate to foreign lands. In 1937 Mother Angela Wojtkowiak established a convent at Dom Feliciano, Brazil, by amalgamating into the American community a group of ten European Bernardines who had migrated from Cracow to Brazil in 1926, but found conditions for expansion and growth too difficult without outside help. In 1957 the community extended its apostolate to Africa, when the superior general, Mother Mary Chrysostom Yadusky, opened a house in Cape Palmas, Liberia. Geographically the community is divided into four provinces: Sacred Heart, Reading, Pa.; Holy Name of Mary, Stamford, Conn.; Holy Rosary, Farmington, Mich.; and Immaculate Conception, Porto Alegre, Brazil. The general motherhouse and central novitiate are located at Villanova, Pa.

Bibliography: Archives, General Motherhouse, Villanova, Pa., Sacred Heart Provincial House, Reading, Pa., St. Joseph Convent, Cracow, and Sacred Heart Convent, Zakliczyn, Poland.

[r. jameson]

Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Child Jesus of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (OSF)[1980]. An international Franciscan community founded in 1855 by Antonie Werr to minister to the needs of women who were neglected by society; in particular, prisoners, prostitutes and the destitute poor. The sisters first came to the United States in 1929 and established their first foundation at Staten Island, New York. Their principal ministries are in social work, health care and teaching.

[a. cooper]

Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) [1780]. This congregation, also known as the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, is a papally approved apostolic congregation founded in 1849. A group of six women and men, their pastor, Father Anton Keppeler, and his assistant, Father Mathias Steiger, all members of the Third Order of St. Francis, emigrated from their parish in Ettenbeuren, Bavaria, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to be of service to the Church among German immigrants. The women, Ottilie Dirr, Anna Ritter, Maria Saumweber, Theresia Moser, Maria Eisenschmid, and Creszentia Eberle, formed a religious community under the direction of Anton Keppeler, with Ottilie, (Mother Aemiliana), as Superior. Keppeler and Steiger died of cholera in 1851.

In 1860 the founders, overwhelmed with the domestic duties they had assumed at St. Francis Seminary (1856) adjacent to their property, left the small community. With the election of Sister Antonia Herb as superior and the support of Reverend Michael Heiss, rector of the seminary, the sisters again focused their efforts on the original purposes of the founders. They transferred the motherhouse to Jefferson, Wisconsin, (1864); then to La Crosse (1871), where Heiss had become bishop. At St. Rose Convent, the motherhouse, the sisters intensified their preparation to teach children in elementary and secondary parish schools. Their work at the seminary terminated when some 30 sisters stationed at or near the seminary severed connections with the La Crosse motherhouse and established an independent congregation.

The early ministries in educating immigrant children, caring for orphans, ministering to the sick, and spreading the Gospel among the Native Americans were later extended to African Americans in the South, the poor in Appalachia, and to the people of China, El Salvador, Guam, Zimbabwe, and Cameroon. The sisters today are focusing energy on the ever-evolving ministry of accompanying people on their spiritual journeys. They also sponsor a healthcare system, Viterbo University, four spirituality centers and a center for holistic living.

Through their social justice ministries, the Sisters try to serve as agents of change both in individual lives and in society. They also provide diverse educational programs, resources and direct ministry to the disadvantaged around the globe. The mission of the congregation is also expressed in partnerships with others seeking Franciscan values and goals without formal membership.

[r. hophan/

m. lang/

g. mcdonald]

Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate (OSF) [1710]. Mother Alfred Moes and Father Pamfilo da Magliano established this first Franciscan Sisterhood in Illinois on Aug. 2, 1865. Papal Approbation was first received in 1909, with the most recent renewal in 1985. The strong Franciscan tradition imparted by Father Pamfilo and the charism experienced by Mother Alfred remain vital in the Joliet Sisters and their Associates. With a heritage of simplicity, versatility, and ingenuity in responding to the needs of God's people, the Congregation has ministered in most of the United States of America, with extensions in Central Brazil since 1963. Sisters have been engaged in a variety of ministries, including education (early childhood, special, primary, secondary, higher, and religious), pastoral ministry, administration, social work, child care, care of the sick and elderly, and ministry to the incarcerated.

[m. voelker]

Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (FHM) [1260]. A diocesan congregation originally called Franciscan Handmaids of Mary and founded in Savannah, Ga., in 1916, by Mother Theodore and Rev. Ignatius Lissner of the Society of the African Missions. Their purpose was to meet the challenge of proposed state legislation requiring that African-American children be educated only by members of their own race. The new community began its work in St. Anthony's school, Savannah. Scarcity of vocations and the timely invitation of Cardinal Patrick Hayes to staff a nursery prompted a small band of sisters to move to New York City in 1924 and establish their provincial house. The sisters minister in education, pastoral care, and social work.

[m. c. alexander]

Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FHIC) [1270]. A congregation of papal approbation founded in Lisbon in 1871 by Mother Maria Clara of the Child Jesus and Rev. Raimundo dos Anjos Beirao. The congregation sought to address the needs of the poor and abandoned. The sisters established foundation in Angola, Brazil, Spain, South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico and the United States (1960). The sisters minister in schools and hospitals, as well as other ministries devoted to meeting the needs of the poor and disenfranchised.

[r. roddy]

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) [1370]. A congregation with papal approbation (1896, 1984), founded in 1877 in Ootacamund, Madras, India, by Hélène de chappotin de neuville (Mother Mary of the Passion). The generalate of this congregation, established specifically for work in the foreign missions, has been in Rome since 1882, when the community was joined to the Franciscan Order. The sisters minister in 77 countries and 70 nationalities divided into 55 provinces. In the United States, where the sisters established themselves in 1903, the provincial house is in the Bronx, New York.

The sisters combine contemplative and active life and follow the rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. Mother Marie Hermine de Jésus (Irma Grivot) and six companions were martyred during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. They were beatified in 1946 and canonized on Oct. 1, 2000. Another China missionary, 26-year-old Maria Assunta pallotta, was beatified in 1954. The foundress, Mother Marie of the Passion, was declared Venerable in June, 1999. The sisters serve in education, social service, medicine, nursing, and catechetics. In the United States they sponsor Franciscan Children's Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Brighton, Massachusetts, and St. Francis Hospital, noted for open-heart surgery, in Roslyn, New York.

Bibliography: m. t. de maleissye, A Short Life of Mary of the Passion (Helen de Chappotin), Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (Bandra, Mumbrai, 2000). s. justina fanego, In Order to Give Life: A Community That Delivered Itself up to Death (2000).

[m. motte]

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (OSF)[1380]. A community that originated in 1854 in Calais, France, through the amalgamation of seven autonomous congregations. In November of 1866 the constitutions were submitted to the Holy See. In the spirit of the Franciscan rule, the sisters devote themselves to teaching and to the care of the sick and aged. After the union of 1854 the congregation spread rapidly throughout Europe and elsewhere. By 1964 there were houses in Europe, England, Ireland, Scotland, North and South America, and in the mission fields of Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Mozambique. There were six novitiates, located in France, Portugal, Scotland, Argentina, the United States, and Ethiopia. The sisters arrived in the United States in 1911 and ministered in health care. The first foundation in the United States was established in Monroe, Louisiana. In 1966 the provincial house of the North American Province was established in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

[r. boyle]

Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph (SMSJ)[1410]. A congregation with papal approbation (1939), founded by Cardinal Herbert vaughan and Alice (Mother Mary Francis) Inghan, (d. 1890) at St. Joseph's College, Mill Hill, London, England, on Sept. 8, 1883. The sisters, popularly known as Mill Hill Sisters, have as their special purposes the domestic management of ecclesiastical colleges, teaching and medical work in the missions, and various branches of child care.

[m. t. sharratt]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows (OSF) [1390]. A congregation founded in China in 1939 by Bishop Raphael Angelo Palazzi, OFM. The congregation adopted its current name in 1948. In 1959, due to the threat of suppression by the Communists, Bishop Palazzi moved the sisters to Hong Kong. In 1952, under the leadership of Mother Mary Leola, the congregation moved from Hong Kong (Macao) to the United States, where it eventually established a provincial house in Beaverton, Oregon. In the United States the sisters ministered in education, retreats, and social work. In 1969 the sisters opened a mission in Taiwan. The sisters minister in retreat houses, pastoral ministry, and the missions, in Oregon, California, British Columbia, Taipei (Taiwan) and Shatin (Hong Kong).

[a. warren]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child (FMDS) [1340]. A diocesan congregation founded on August 15, 1927, by William Turner, Bishop of Buffalo, N.Y. (191936). The chief purpose of the congregation is to proclaim the Gospel message through education, pastoral ministry, and spiritual guidance. The motherhouse is located in Williamsville, New York. On Dec. 4, 1957, Robert E. Lucey, archbishop of San Antonio, granted permission to organize a group of lay assistants known as the Daughters of St. Francis. Members dedicate a year or more of their lives to apostolic work.

[m. a. fasanello/

m. krantz]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (OSF) [1350]. A pontifical congregation, founded in Mexico City in 1874 by Father Refugio Morales, OFM, and Dolores Vásquez (Sister Maria de la Cruz de Cristo Crucificado). Because of the religious persecution in Mexico, houses were set up in the United States in 1926 and in Central America in 1928. Worldwide the congregation is known as Hermanas Franciscanas de la Inmaculada Concepcion.

The Congregation is organized into five provinces: two in Mexico, two in Central America, and one in the United States. In 1980 the sisters opened two mission houses in Peru, South America, and in the following years it extended itself into Spain, Portugal, Rome, and Africa. In the United States province, the sisters serve in schools, hospitals, parish pastoral ministry, two homes for the aged, and a retreat house.

[m. ulloa]

Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus (FMIJ) [1360]. A congregation of pontifical right founded by Barbara (Sister Mary Joseph of the Infant Jesus) Micarelli on Dec. 25, 1879 in Aquila, Italy. The sisters ministered to the poor, the orphaned, and abandoned. After a wide expansion in Italy the sisters came to Latin America (Boliva and Peru) in the early part of the 20th century. They were established in the United States in 1961 at the invitation of Bishop Celestine Damiano, of Camden, New Jersey. Their ministry is primarily in pastoral care, evangelization, education, and health care. In the United States they serve in the dioceses of Camden and Trenton in New Jersey and Arlington in Virginia. The congregation also has foundations in the Philippines, Belgium, Germany, Albania, and Cameroon.

[r. roddy]

Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (OSF) [1240]. A congregation with papal approbation, founded in 1860 by Mother Maria Clara Pfaender in Salzkotten, Germany. The sisters are engaged in educational, nursing, pastoral and social services, and spiritual renewal in Germany, France, Holland, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Malawi, Rumania, and the United States. The ministry of the sisters has varied according to the needs of time and place. In Europe through the years they have undertaken nursing in hospitals, in homes, and even on the battlefields. They have also served in various phases of teaching and the sheltering of the aged and orphans.

The U.S. provincewith headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois, since 1947dates from 1872, when Rev. E. A. Schindel of St. Louis, Missouri, sought to establish a hospital in St. Louis. His request came when the stringent laws of the Kulturkampf made a U.S. foundation desirable for the welfare of the larger congregation. In 1875 five more sisters bound for the United States mission drowned when the German steamer Deutschland ran aground in a storm off the coast of England. The faith and heroism of these sisters during the crisis are immortalized in the poem "The Wreck of the Deutschland," by Gerard Manley hopkins.

The work of the community in the United States extended to the states of Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado. The generalate of the congregation is located in Rome.

[m. m. keeven/

d. anderson]

Franciscan Sisters of Allegany (OSF) [1180]. At the request of John Timon, CM, first bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., four friars were commissioned to serve in the diocese by the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor. In 1855 the four friars arrived in Ellicottville, N.Y., accompanied by Nicholas Devereaux, their benefactor.

The friars' missionary duties expanded to many towns and villages, prompting Bishop Timon to invite Father Pamfilo da Magliano, OSF, superior of the little band of missionaries, to seek the aid of the Sisters of the Third Order.

On April 25, 1859, Father Pamfilo founded the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. On that date he received Mary Jane Todd, a Franciscan Tertiary, as the first novice and gave her the religious name Sister Mary Joseph. The ceremony took place in the Chapel of St. Bonaventure College and Seminary, Allegany, N.Y.

Mary Anne O'Neil (Sister Mary Theresa), the third novice received by Father Pamfilo, was elected the first general superior. She served in this capacity for 52 years though not consecutively. Mother Teresa established some 38 foundations in education and health care ministries. She is considered the co-foundress of the congregation. With the assistance of Diomede Cardinal Falconio, OFM, Mother Teresa received final approbation of the congregation by Pope St. Pius X in 1913.

The Allegany Sisters are the first congregation of women religious founded in the United States to go to the foreign missions. In 1879 two sisters went to the British West Indies (Jamaica); in 1946 and 1965 the sisters went to Brazil and Bolivia respectively. By the late 1990s, the sisters were co-foundresses of native Franciscan congregations in Brazil and Bolivia.

[g. e. donovan]

Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore (OSF) [1200] . The Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore (also known as the Franciscan Sisters of Mill Hill), had their origin in 1868 when five sisters of the Church of England, under the leadership of Mary Basil, were received into the Catholic Church by Reverend (later Cardinal) Herbert Vaughan of Westminster. As members of the Society of St. Margaret, they had been working for the poor in the slums of East London, England. In the year of their reception as Franciscans in 1870, they resumed this same activity. Three years later they established a motherhouse at Mill Hill, London, with Mary Basil (Mother Mary Francis) as superior. Obtaining papal approval in 1880, they were known as the Franciscan Sisters of St. Mary, Mill Hill.

At the request of Vaughan and Archbishop James Gibbons (later James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore), four sisters arrived in the city in 1881. In 1882 they took charge of St. Elizabeth Home and St. Francis Xavier School for African-American children. In 1885, with the help of additional sisters, their educational work was extended to Richmond, Virginia, and in 1889 to Norfolk, Virginia. Until the end of segregation in 1954, the sisters were engaged solely in the African-American apostolate. From the beginning of their apostolate in the United States, the congregation was incorporated under the title of Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore. In 1902 Vaughan again requested the help of sisters to assist the Mill Hill Missionaries in the Vicariate of the Upper Nile in Africa. Leading this venture was Mother Mary Paul Murphy of New York. In 1952 this mission group became a separate community known as the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa.

In 1954 the original congregation transferred the general motherhouse from Mill Hill to Baltimore, and in 1982 the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore became an independent papal congregation. The sisters are presently engaged in a variety of ministries: education, social service, catechesis, pastoral ministry, and retreat work.

[s. j. kennet-dawson]

Franciscan Sisters of Chicago (OSF) [1210]. A congregation with papal approbation (1939) founded Dec. 8, 1894, in Chicago, Illinois. The foundress, Josephine Dudzik (Mother Mary Theresa, 18601918) was a Franciscan tertiary and a prefect of the 3,000-member St. Stanislaus Kostka Rosary Sodality Society in Chicago. She dedicated herself to alleviating the misery of the poor and the aged whom she observed through the windows of her workshop while engaged in professional tailoring. Her plan to organize her tertiary companions who were willing to join her in a common life of prayer and work was confided to her friend, the superior of the parish tertiaries, Rose Wisinska (18501917), who later became co-foundress as Mother Mary Anna. At a meeting of the Third Order members on Oct. 1, 1893, the plan was presented and the group of women gathered in November of 1894. Guided by her pastor and spiritual director, Father Vincent Barzynski, CR (183899), Josephine promised never to abandon this congregation. Despite many hardships, she persevered in organizing the new religious family and was successful in inspiring her followers with her ideals of charity and self-sacrifice. Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik was named Venerable in 1994.

The Sisters continue to minister in education, healthcare, pastoral and social service and sponsor eldercare facilities and services in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; Joliet, Ill.; Lafayette, Ind., and Louisville, Ky.

[m. c. lawrence/

f. c. radke]

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (OSF) [1230]. A Congregation founded in 1869 by Theresa Gramlich, Rosa Wahl, and three companions in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, under the guidance of Rev. Joseph Fessler, to meet the catechetical and educational needs of the area. Within a few years the ministry of the sisters included health care. Primary concerns for the religious and professional formation of its members led the Congregation to establish Holy Family Academy and Normal School at the Motherhouse, Holy Family Convent. Manitowoc, in 1885. This school was the forerunner of Holy Family College, now Silver Lake College, a four-year, co-educational, liberal arts and professional college, founded in 1935, and sponsored by the congregation.

In the mid-1930s the Sisters began missionary work in the southwestern part of the United States, where they accepted eight schools on Native American reservations in Arizona. In 1964 they accepted a foreign mission in Lima, Peru. Since the 1960s, the Congregation, in addition to its educational and health care ministries, has responded to the growing needs of the Church by extending its services to include hospital pastoral ministry, various forms of parish ministry, service to African Americans, Latinos, immigrant peoples, and to the poor and needy. Members serve in numerous dioceses and archdioceses throughout the United States and in Lima, Peru.

[d. m. kessler]

Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minn. (OSF) [1310]. A Franciscan congregation established in the Diocese of St. Cloud in 1891 by 16 women who were formerly associated with the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. The community is made up of associates and vowed members. Ministries include care of the sick and aged, education, parish and retreat ministries, spiritual direction, and social services. Sponsored ministries include Clare's Well, a spirituality farm; the Spiritual Center, a sabbatical program for men and women religious; St. Francis Music Center and St. Francis Health and Recreation Center.

[j. welle]

Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM) [1415]. The Franciscan Sisters of Mary came into being in 1987 with the reuniting of the Sisters of St. Mary (SSM), St. Louis, Mo., and the Sisters of St. Francis (OSF), Maryville, Mo. Both congregations had a common founding in 1872 by Mary Odilia Berger. This first congregation was known as the Sisters of St. Mary. In 1894, seven SSM, guided by Mary Augustine Giesen, formed a new religious congregation known as the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville, Missouri. In 1987, after many years of prayerful study, the two congregations reunited. The ministry of the congregation embraces varied expressions of compassion and healing, including health care, pastoral services, homeless teens with children, birth center and hospitality to women. From the foundation center in St. Louis, Missouri, the sisters serve in the United States and Brazil.

[j. motzel]

Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate (FMI) [1500]. A congregation with papal approbation (1933). Although the sisters established their motherhouse in Colombia in 1893, the community had begun in Ecuador in 1888, when seven sisters from Switzerland, led by Mother Caritas Brader (18601943), went there to engage in teaching. Unfavorable political conditions forced them to move to Colombia. The congregation subsequently established schools and missions in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Guatamala, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba, Africa, Romania, and the United States. The sisters are engaged in teaching, nursing, catechetics, domestic work, and the staffing of charitable institutions. In 1932 they were invited to Amarillo, Texas, by Bishop Rudolph A. Gerken (19271943). The United States headquarters and novitiate are located in Amarillo, Texas. The sisters are represented in the Dioceses of Amarillo, Tex., and in the archdioceses of Santa Fe and Los Angeles. Mother Caritas Brader was declared venerable in 1999.

[m. n. rooney]

Franciscan Sisters of Oldenburg (OSF) [1720].

On Jan. 6, 1851, a Franciscan religious from Vienna, Austria, Sister Theresa Hackelmeier, joined Father Joseph Rudolph, pastor at Oldenburg, Ind., to help him begin a school for the children of his German immigrant parishioners. Three postulants awaited her arrival. A log cabin convent, a school for girls, and a home for orphans were built.

Despite a devastating fire in 1857, the congregation grew and staffed numerous elementary schools in southern Indiana. The first school outside Indiana opened in St. Louis, Mo., in 1859. Expansion followed in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Kansas. In 1892 the sisters took up the education of African-American children, first in Indianapolis, Ind., and later, in 1911, in Kansas City, Mo. The sisters began work with the Spanish-speaking people of New Mexico in 1918. In answer to an appeal from the Jesuits in Montana, the Congregation accepted two missions on the Crow Indian Reservation in 1934. Five years later, six sisters began a mission in Wuchang, China. In 1960 the sisters accepted missions in Papua New Guinea.

Currently, the sisters are engaged in a variety of ministries, mainly in education and catechesis, as well as pastoral ministry to the poor and marginalized.

[f. kennedy]

Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Lourdes (OSF)[1710]. A congregation with papal approbation, founded in 1877 by Maria Catherine (Mother Alfred) Moes (18281899) and her sister, Catherine (Sister Barbara) Moes. They came to the United States from Remich, Luxembourg, intending to teach and first resided with the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Milwaukee, Wis. In 1856 they entered the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross at Notre Dame, Indiana.

When differences arose between the European and American branches of that community, Mother Alfred and three other sisters petitioned Father Pamfilo da Magliano, OFM, of Allegany, N.Y., to receive them as Franciscans. They adopted the Franciscan habit June 1, 1863, and became known as the Franciscan Sisters of Joliet, Illinois. Two years later they established a Congregation with Mother Alfred as general superior. Shortly after Mother Alfred left office, she responded to an invitation to establish an academy in Minnesota. She succeeded in opening two academies in 1877 in the towns of Owatonna and Rochester, Minn. Bishop Thomas Foley of Chicago (187079) expressed concern over the transfer of sisters to Minnesota in a letter to the superior at Joliet on Dec. 23, 1877. He wrote that Mother Alfred could not return to Joliet, and declared that the other sisters would have to choose between Joliet and Rochester. By the end of the month, 24 sisters had decided to join Mother Alfred.

With the approval of Bishop Thomas Grace of St. Paul, Minn., the Franciscan Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes became a separate foundation in Rochester. The sisters continued classroom and music instruction in the academies and accepted invitations to work in parish schools. In 1894 they opened the Winona Seminary for Young Ladies, an academy for the elementary and secondary education of girls. In 1907, college courses were offered at the seminary; five years later it was chartered as the College of Saint Teresa, which remained in operation until 1989.

Although originally teachers, the sisters also began nursing after a tornado struck Rochester in 1883. In 1889 Saint Mary's Hospital, built by the sisters and staffed by Dr. W. W. Mayo and his sons, opened. Later additions made it one of the largest privately owned hospitals in the United States. In 1986 Saint Mary's, under the continued sponsorship of the sisters, became part of the Mayo Medical Center.

For many years the sisters also conducted hospitals in Ohio and Colorado and homes for the aged in Minnesota. Responding to the call of Pope John XXIII, in 1962 they began to minister in Latin America, including the founding of a colegio in Bogota, Colombia, where they continue to minister today. Since 1955 the Congregational Center has been at Assisi Heights in Rochester. The sisters serve throughout the United States and in Columbia, South America.

[m. l. reilly]

Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OSF) [1430]. A congregation with papal approbation (1939) founded in St. Louis, Mo., on May 29, 1901. The cofounders, Mother M. Solana Leczna (18671919), Mother M. Ernestine Matz (18731957), and Mother M. Hilaria Matz (18811948), were members of the Franciscan Sisters of Joliet, Illinois. At the beginning of the 20th century, the purpose of the new congregation was to meet the needs of immigrants, particularly of Polish descent, settling in the Mississippi and Missouri Valleys. The sisters serve in about seventeen states in pastoral care, teaching, health care, youth ministry, and social services.

[m. i. janota/

a. p. wilken]

Franciscan Sisters of Peace (FSP) [1425]. A diocesan institute (Archdiocese of New York) established in 1986. The founding 112 sisters of this institute had been members of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of St. Francis (Peekskill, N.Y.). The sisters trace the roots of their charism to that of their European founders: Gertrude Paul, Constanza Huber and Pellegrina Santelamezza, who founded the Tertiary Franciscans for Apostolic Mission in Gemona, Italy, on Dec. 5, 1865. (The congregation later became known as the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.) The sisters minister in education, health care, and pastoral ministry in the eastern United States. Their congregational center is located in Haverstraw, N.Y.

[r. roddy]

Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Charity of Tiffin, Ohio (OSF) [1760]. This congregation was founded as a diocesan community in 1869 by Joseph Bihn, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Tiffin, and by Elizabeth Schaefer, a widow from the same parish. The original purpose of the community was to provide a home for orphans and the elderly following the U.S. Civil War. As the number of sisters gradually increased, the scope of their ministry extended to include teaching, hospital work, care of pilgrims and retreatants, pastoral ministry, and missionary work in the United States and Mexico. The orphanage was phased out in the 1930s but St. Francis Home for the elderly remains a vibrant institution, providing acute care, assisted living, and independent living for the elderly. Papal approbation was requested in 1955 and initial approval was granted by the Holy See in 1962. In their general assembly of 1994 the sisters agreed to focus their concerted efforts on living out the goals of contemplation/action, care of creation, peacemaking, and concern for the poor.

[h. linder]

Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamburg, New York (FSSJ) [1470]. A congregation with papal approbation founded in 1897 by Mother M. Colette Hilbert (18651938) in Trenton, N.J. In 1898 Mother M. Colette established the community's motherhouse and a school near Corpus Christi Church, Buffalo, N.Y. In 1928 the motherhouse was transferred to its present site in Hamburg, N.Y. The congregation engages in education, health care, and social service ministries in several dioceses throughout the United States. The congregation sponsors Immaculata Academy, a high school for young women in Hamburg and Marycrest Manor, a skilled nursing facility in Livonia, Mich., and Hubert College, a four-year college in Hamburg.

[p. tirone]

Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement (SA) [1190]. A congregation with papal approbation, commonly known as the Graymoor or Atonement Sisters. The Society of the Atonement, composed of the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, was founded at Graymoor, Garrison, N.Y., in 1898 by Rev. Paul James wattson and Mother Lurana Mary White, both of whom were then members of the Episcopal Church. In 1908, Father Paul inaugurated the Chair of Unity Octave, now called the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In October of 1909, the Friars and Sisters were corporately received into the Roman Catholic Church with the permission of Pope Pius X. The Society honors Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Atonement.

The word atonement indicates the twofold vocation of the Society: through a life of prayer, work, and sacrifice, they seek to atone for sin and to draw all persons to union, "atonement" with God, in the spirit of Christ's prayer, "That all may be one" (Jn 17:21). The congregation is involved in a variety of ministries: ecumenism; religious education and catechetical ministries; social welfare and community development; health care; hospital chaplaincies; pastoral ministry; home visitation; adult social day care; child day care and kindergartens; youth ministry; justice and peace work; and guest and retreat houses. The sisters minister in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and South Africa.

[m. f. flanigan/

a. griffitts]

Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (SFP) [1440]. A papal congregation begun in Aachen, Germany, on Oct. 3, 1845, by Frances Schervier (18191876) for service to the sick and the poor. By 1851 Mother Frances Schervier and 23 companions professed a rule of life based on the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. Mother Frances and her companions were noted for their compassionate response to the needs of the time. In 1858 six sisters arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the invitation of Mrs. Sarah Peter, a wealthy widow, to begin the congregation's ministry in health care in the United States. Those pioneer sisters were responsible for building many hospitals, nursing during the U.S. Civil War, and maintaining an orphanage after the war. As time passed, numerous hospitals were established in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States. In April 1959, by decree of the Sacred Congregation for Religious, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis was officially divided into two autonomous religious congregations, each of Pontifical Right. The sisters in the United States and Italy became known as the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. In 1960 and later in 1978 the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor established ministries in Brazil and Senegal. The sisters' vision of healing and hope continues today through their healing ministry to the sick and the poor.

International leadership is located in Brooklyn, N.Y., with regional leadership based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rome, Italy, and Goiania, Go, Brazil. Frances Schervier was beatified on April 28, 1974 by Pope Paul VI.

[m. l. sahm]

Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart (OSF)[1450]. A congregation with papal approbation (1898) whose motherhouse is in Frankfort, Ill. This community stems from a congregation founded in Baden, Germany, by Rev. Wilhelm Berger in 1866. Berger, pastor of the village church of Seelbach, began the congregation to serve the poor and the sick in their homes. The first motherhouse, known as Maria Hilf, was established in 1867. Despite the services rendered by the sisters in 18 military hospitals during the Franco-Prussian War, the hostile measures of Bismarck's Kulturkampf forced the community to seek missions outside of Germany. The need for sisters in the United States was brought to the attention of Mother M. Anastasia Bischler, the first superior general (18741908), by Rev. Dominic Duehmig, pastor of St. Mary's Church, Avilla, Ind., who at that time was visiting his native Germany.

On May 17, 1876, Mother Anastasia and three companions sailed for the United States and were welcomed to the Diocese of Fort Wayne, Ind., by Bishop Joseph Dwenger (187293). Later that year 23 more sisters came to the United States where they eventually formed an independent congregation: the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Their first headquarters was established on a run-down farm in Duehmig's parish in Avilla. The farmhouse was remodeled to accommodate the sisters and to serve elderly persons who were given shelter in what came to be known as the Sacred Heart Home for the Aged. In 1883 the motherhouse and novitiate were transferred to Joliet, Ill.; the novitiate (1953); and the motherhouse (1964) were moved to St. Francis Woods in Frankfort, Ill. The sisters' first educational institution, a public elementary school, was opened in Avilla in 1877. Two more schools followed at Hessen Cassel, Ind.(1878), and Dyer, Ind. (1879). Further foundations, both schools and hospitals, were made in Indiana and Illinois before the end of the 19th century. By 1963 the community had extended its work into California.

Bibliography: m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche, 2 v. (3d. ed Paderborn 193234) 2:36.

[m. a. britton]

Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSM) [4100]. A congregation with papal approbation that was founded in Rome, Italy, by Mother Frances of the Cross (Amalia Streitel, 18441911), a native of Mellrichstadt, Germany. Having been educated by the Franciscan Sisters of Maria Stern in Augsburg and having experienced religious life in both Franciscan and Carmelite convents, she went to Rome in 1883 at the request of Father Franziskus Maria Jordan to organize a new community of sisters. Both soon discovered that their views concerning the foundation were divergent. The conflict was resolved in 1885 when the cardinal vicar of Rome, Lucido Maria Parocchi (18831903), appointed as spiritual director of the small community Rev. Dr. George Jacquemin (d. 1920) and named the new congregation Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. A rented dwelling close to St. Peter's Basilica became the first motherhouse in Rome. In accord with the instruction and example of their foundress, the sisters practice special devotion to Our Lady under the title of Sorrowful Mother.

From Italy the community spread to Germany, Austria, the West Indies, and the United States, where the first foundation (St. Francis Hospital) was made in 1889 in Wichita, Kansas. The sisters also have missions in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Oklahoma. The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother sponsor the Marian Health System and minister as educators, chaplains, social workers, counselors, pastoral associates, and retreat directors. The congregation is divided into two provinces, a European province and a United States-Caribbean province, with its generalate in Rome, Italy. The foundress's cause for beatification is in process.

[d. dirkx]

Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (OSF) [1820]. A congregation with papal approbation, founded in Münster, Germany, in 1844 by Father Christopher Behrensmeyer. The founder had belonged to the Order of Friars Minor until 1811, when his order was dispersed during the Napoleonic conquest. The congregation was founded on July 2, 1844, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Telgte, near Münster. The sisters began their work in the homes of the sick and in hospitals that they established for the physically and mentally ill. At the time of Father Christopher's death on June 2, 1858, there were ten hospitals in Germany and Silesia. Later the sisters extended their apostolate to Poland, Holland, Czechoslovakia, the United States, China, and Japan.

Twenty sisters arrived in New York in 1875. Under the direction of the Bishop of Alton, Ill., they proceeded into various parts of Illinois to carry on their nursing activities. St. John's Hospital, in Springfield, Ill., became the center for the religious and professional training of the sisters. In 1930 the sisters transferred their provincial motherhouse to a site about six miles northeast of Springfield, Ill. Msgr. Joseph Straub, as director of the community, supervised the construction of the new headquarters, which includes St. Francis of Assisi Church and St. Clare of Assisi Adoration Chapel.

At the present time the American province sponsors thirteen hospitals that comprise Hospital Sisters Health System. The sisters of the American province are also represented in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Korea, and India.

[m. c. kelley/

m. o'connor]

Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (MFIC) [1360]. An apostolic Institute of pontifical right founded in 1873 by Elizabeth (Mother Mary Ignatius) Hayes (182194), a convert from Anglicanism. She founded the first mission of the congregation in Belle Prairie, Minn., in 1873 and the second mission five years later in Augusta, Ga. The sisters serve among the poor and marginalized in some eleven countries in social services, education, and catechetical instruction. Provincial houses are located in Newton, Mass.; Montreal, Canada; Brisbane, Australia; and Aitape, Papua New Guinea. Missions currently are in Ireland, England, Egypt, Bolivia, Peru, and Chad.

[g. foyster]

Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (SMIC) [2760]. The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God were founded in 1910 in Santaém, Párá, Brazil, by Bishop Amando Bablmann, OFM, and Mother Immaculata of Jesus (Elizabeth Tombrock) together with four Brazilian Conceptionist nuns of the Ajuda Monastery in Rio de Janeiro. The new foundation, designated a branch of the Conceptionist Order, was named the Missionary Poor Clares of the Immaculate Conception. The Conceptionist Rule was followed until 1922 when a decree of reorganization was issued by the Holy See. The Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis was adopted in 1925, and in 1929 the order was granted the status of an apostolic congregation of pontifical right and given the name Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. The generalate was transferred from Brazil to the United States in 1924.

Initially, the congregation served the people of the Amazon Region of Northern Brazil, mainly through the education of youth. The congregation spread to other areas of Brazil; to Germany (1915); the United States (1922); China (1931); and later to Taiwan (1949); Namibia (1962); and the Philippines (1996). As an international community with a missionary charism, the congregation encourages and promotes collaboration and exchange among the provinces, but mission experiences are sought primarily in the country of origin. The focus of ministry includes rural and urban health care, education at various levels, pastoral care, and social work.

Bibliography: d. flood, ofm, Room for One More (Saco Printing Co. 1993). f. l. laughlin, As a Seal on My Heart (West Paterson, N.J. 1992).

[r. c. gonzalez]

Missionary Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (FMSC) [1400]. A congregation with papal approbation, this community, whose motherhouse is located in Rome and whose work is in education and the missions, was founded in 1860 at Gemona, Italy. Under the guidance of Father Gregorio Fiorvante dalle Grotte di Castro, OFM, the new community was endowed for a time by a French duchess, Laura Leroux, who wished to place her patrimony in the service of some good work.

On Dec. 9, 1865, the sisters began their work in the United States at the request of the Franciscan Friars in New York City. In 1869 they purchased the site of their provincial house and novitiate at Mt. St. Francis in Peeks-kill, N.Y. There they began an academy for girls, which was transferred in 1900 to Highland Falls, N.Y., and called Ladycliff Academy. Growth of the academy and of Ladycliff College (chartered in 1933) necessitated the erection of a new Ladycliff Academy at Mohegan, N.Y., in 1961.

The sisters spread their teaching apostolate into New Jersey (1871) and Pennsylvania (1874), as well as in New York State. An important phase of their work began in 1879 with the care of neglected children at St. Joseph's Home in Peekskill. In 1949 Cardinal Francis Spellman requested the sisters to assume the care and supervision of the children at Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Home in the Bronx, N.Y. Four sisters from the U.S. province were sent to do mission work among the native Americans of Bolivia in 1960.

The sisters are engaged in ministry in Chile, Peru, Italy, India, Cyprus, Turkey, Congo, Bolivia, France, Lebanon, Bulgaria, the Philippines, the United States, Switzerland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Ecuador, Albania, and the Republic of Central Africa. In 1986, 115 sisters in the American province opted to start a new diocesan community. The remaining sisters carry on works in education, health care, administration, and pastoral ministry.

[m. r. conlon]

School Sisters of St. Francis (OSF) [1680]. The School Sisters of St. Francis Congregation was founded April 28, 1874, in New Cassel, Wis., by Mother Alexia Hoell, Mother Alfons Schmid, and Sister Clara Seiter. These sisters left their community in Schwarzach, Germany, to minister to the German immigrants in America. Within the next decade, School Sisters staffed schools across the United States. By 1887 a new motherhouse was built and dedicated in Milwaukee.

The congregation is an international community working in eleven countries worldwide, mainly in the United States. Provinces are also located in Europe, India, and Central America. Sisters are involved in education, pastoral ministry, social services, health care, and the fine arts. In addition to vowed members, the community has an associates program, comprised of men and women who share in the congregation's mission.

[i. deger]

School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King (OSF) [1520]. An international congregation with papal approbation that traces its roots to the School Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi founded in Graz, Austria, in 1843. After being sent to run an academy for girls in Maribor, Austria, (now Slovenia), circumstances dictated that they form a new congregation, which became independent on Sept. 13, 1869. This congregation later came to be known as the School Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King. In October of 1909, four sisters arrived in the United States to work among the Slavic immigrants of the Kansas City area. The sisters expanded their ministries to serve as educators, housemothers of an orphanage, housekeepers, musicians, sacristans, cooks, and mentors. These ministries took them to the Chicago archdiocese and the Joliet diocese. In 1926 an 88-acre tract of land was purchased in Lemont, Ill. Mt. Assisi Convent, the provincial center and novitiate, Mt. Assisi Academy, Alvernia Manor, and Our Lady of the Angels House of Prayer are located on this site. Through these and a number of parishes within the archdiocese of Chicago and the Joliet diocese the sisters engage in their principal ministry, education, particularly religious education.

[t. a. quincy]

School Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (OSF) [1690 Pittsburgh and 1700 Bethlehem]. The School Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis trace their roots to the community of Mother Frances (Antonia) Lampel in Graz, Austria, in 1843 and continued by Mother Hyacinth (Magdalene) Zahalka in a new foundation in Bohemia in 1888. Originally founded for the education and Christian formation of young women in Austria and Bohemia the sisters soon embraced other ministries as the needs of the Church grew. On Oct. 30, 1911, Mother Hyacinth, accompanied by Sister Georgia Cerney, sailed for America but died in Pittsburgh on March 10, 1912. The new general superior, Mother Xavier Furgott, came to Pittsburgh in May of 1913 to initiate plans for a future foundation. On Aug. 15, 1913, six sisters arrived in America and began staffing schools in parishes of the diocese of Pittsburgh. In 1946 the community in Pittsburgh received the status of a province.

In 1957, because of increased membership and numerous vocations from the eastern part of Pennsylvania, the province was divided into two provinces: the Pittsburgh Province, serving western Pennsylvania, and the Bethlehem Province, serving eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Presently, the Pittsburgh Province ministers in western Pennsylvania, Texas, and Arizona. The Bethlehem province serves the eastern United States. Changes and adaptations following Vatican II resulted in the broadening of areas of ministry. The sisters respond to the needs of today's Church through ministries in education, parish social ministry, pastoral ministry, retreat work and spiritual direction, and pastoral care. Today the congregation has provinces in Rome, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and the United States (Pittsburgh and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania). Sisters also minister in Chile, South Africa, Aima-Ata, Kazakstan, and Warsaw, Poland. They have a Formation House in Kerala, India.

[f. parana]

Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice. See separate entry under that heading.

Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa (OSF) [1540]. Near the end of the Civil War, a young widow named Caroline Cambron Warren visited the Trappist Abbey in Gethsemani, Ky. While there, she was asked by the abbot to conduct a school for poor girls. She agreed and was employed immediately. By the time the school session began in May of 1863, Mrs. Warren had been joined by her niece, Sally Walker. In 1864, Lizzie Lillis joined the other two. The three began to live a communal life of work and prayer. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Warren was received as a Franciscan tertiary, and on Jan. 21, 1866, all three women became Franciscan tertiaries. After the ceremony, Bishop Lavialle of Louisville, Ky., declared that the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis was established with his approbation. Abbot Benedict Berger was appointed their spiritual director.

Abbot Benedict's first endeavor was to see that the sisters were trained properly. He persuaded Mother Antonia of the Oldenburg Franciscans to set up a separate novitiate for these women, and nine women entered the separate novitiate in Oldenburg, Ind. After completing their studies, the sisters made vows for a year and returned to Gethsemani in 1868. The abbot had built a new motherhouse and school named Mount Olivet, not far from Gethsemani Abbey, but Bishop McCloskey prevailed upon the sisters to move to Shelbyville, Ky. Our Lady of Angels Academy opened there in 1874. The school in Shelbyville was recognized as a superior institution, but there were many academies in the area and the school was located in an area that was very anti-Catholic. The sisters' welfare did not improve, and many times they had to resort to begging just to provide a little food.

In spite of the hardships, women continued to ask admittance, and schools were opened in Fancy Farm, Hardinsburg, Knottsville, Lebanon, Louisville, St. Mary's, and Whitesville, Ky. In 1888 two Jesuit priests gave a mission at Shelbyville and, seeing the destitute situation of the sisters, urged them to apply for acceptance into the diocese of Dubuque, Iowa. On Sept. 21, 1890, the first twelve sisters left for Iowa.

Upon reaching Iowa, some of the sisters went directly to the schools where they were to teach. Those sisters not yet employed were graciously given food and lodging by the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters. On Jan. 6, 1891, the last of the sisters left Dubuque for Anamosa, where the motherhouse was to be established. In 1891, Rev. James Murray, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Clinton, asked for teachers. In 1893, Father Murray was instrumental in helping the sisters obtain the Chase property in Clinton. The large building on the property became the motherhouse. It was named Mount St. Clare, and Mount St. Clare Academy was opened on the premises. New property was purchased, and a seven-storey building was built in 1910. In 1918, the school was extended to include a junior college, Mount St. Clare College. Hospitals were opened in Grinnell and Burlington, Iowa, and in Macomb, Ill. Schools of nursing were opened in Macomb and Burlington. In 1914 a health-care facility for the elderly was opened in Clinton in the first Mount St. Clare building, then called Mount Alverno Home for the Aged. The sisters staffed parish schools in many Iowa towns as well as in Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, and California. In 1960, the congregation staffed a school and clinic in Freeport, Bahamas. In 1964, four sisters went to staff a school in Chulucanas, Peru. Following the Second Vatican Council, many sisters who had been involved in education and health care turned their attention to social services, peace and justice works, pastoral ministry, campus ministry, early childhood education, AIDS ministry, legal aid to the poor, hospital chaplaincy, prison ministry, and home care for the elderly. In 1988, an associate program was inaugurated, and in 2000 a temporary commitment program was authorized.

[s. mccarthy]

Sisters of St. Francis Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes (OSF) [1530]. Mother Adelaide Sandusky of the Rochester, Minnesota Franciscan Sisters, responded to the invitation of Bishop Joseph Schrembs of Toledo, Ohio, and came with 23 Sisters to minister to the educational needs of immigrants in the parishes in 1916. By 1930 the growth and development of the Ohio community brought about its separation and establishment as an autonomous diocesan congregation with Mother M. Adelaide as the first elected general superior. The generalate and corporate headquarters of the sisters is situated on an 89-acre campus in Sylvania, Ohio. Sisters' residences, Rosarv Care Center, Lourdes College, St. Francis Education Center, Sophia Counseling Center, the Franciscan Center, Franciscan Services Corporation, which administers health and human services in Ohio and Texas, and Convent Park Apartments for independent senior living are located on or adjacent to the Sylvania campus. The sisters' mission extends to 15 other states.

[m. b. mroz/

k. zielinski]

Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi (OSF) [1705]. In 1849, a small band of lay Franciscans left Ettenbeuren, Bavaria, and came to America to become missionaries to the German immigrants in Wisconsin. Amidst hardship and struggles, these women organized the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. In their personal and corporate lives the sisters are dedicated to the Franciscan values of living simply and serving the poor, seeking personal transformation, working toward right relationships with all people through justice, respect, hospitality and peace making, and reverencing God within themselves and others and in all creation. Ministries are as diverse as the women who serve them: administrators; teachers; healthcare providers; social workers and counselors; campus, prison and parish ministers; childcare workers; artists and musicians. Community members are located across the United States and in Taiwan.

The congregation sponsors Canticle Court Inc. and Juniper Court, Inc., St Francis, Wis., corporations offering affordable housing and independent living for the older adult in a community environment. Cardinal Stritch University, located in Milwaukee, Wis., is the largest Franciscan institution in the United States. Marian Center for Nonprofits leases space to nonprofit agencies that respond to human needs through education, the arts, and social justice. St. Ann Center for Inter-generational Care, also in St. Francis, Wis., is a nationally recognized noninstitutional daycare alternative for persons of all ages. Shepherd Hall meets the special daycare needs of persons with dementia. St. Coletta's of Illinois, located in Palos Park, provides group home living for profoundly disabled persons, a day school, and a workshop where those with developmental challenges can learn skills needed to earn a living. St. Coletta and Cardinal Cushing Schools of Massachusetts, located in Braintree and Hanover, provide residential and educational services to school-age youngsters with developmental challenges, adult living units with vocational training, and a day school for those with severe, multiple disabilities. Cushing Residence, a funded housing complex for senior citizens located on the Hanover campus, engages services provided by students in vocational training. St. Coletta of Wisconsin, Jefferson, serves the needs of adults with disabilities. In addition, the congregation maintains Liteh Kindergarten in Taipei, Taiwan.

[m. lunz]

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity (OSF) [1630]. A congregation with papal approbation (1869) founded in 1835 by Marie Catharina Daemen (17871858) in Heijthuijsen, province of Limburg, Holland. Daemen was a Franciscan tertiary engaged in works of charity at Maaseik, Belgium. In 1827 she went to Heijthuijsen, where she formed a group of tertiaries devoted to similar works. Under the direction of the local pastor, Petrus van der Zandt, and with the approval of Bp. Cornelius van Bommel of Liège, the tertiaries assumed the Franciscan habit and formed a religious community in 1835. Daemen, now known as Mother Magdalen, became the first superior. Expansion outside Holland began in 1854 when a house was established in Germany. Subsequent foundations were made in Poland (1867), Indonesia (1870), Brazil (1872), the United States, and Tanganyika (now Tanzania; 1959). In 1874 the sisters began their work in the United States at Stella Niagara (Holy Name Province) in the diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. Two other provinces are located in Denver, Colo., (Sacred Heart Province; 1939) and Redwood City, Calif. (St. Francis Province; 1939). In 1991, the sisters of the Sacred Heart Province established a mission in Chiapas, Mexico.

Bibliography: l. mason, Life of Mother Magdalen (Niagara, N.Y. 1935). m. p. jones, He Chose Catherine (New York 1959). m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche, 2 v. (3d. ed Paderborn 193234) 2:4142.

[m. g. miller]

Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (OSF) [1640]. A congregation with papal approbation (formerly known as the Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of Perpetual Adoration) founded in 1863 by Aline (Mother Maria Theresia) Bonzel in Olpe, Westphalia, Germany, for the purpose of serving the sick, the aged, and orphans and of educating youth. The sisters maintain perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the congregation. By the time of Mother Maria Theresia's death in 1905, the congregation had spread to several parts of Germany and to the United States. In 1930 her remains were transferred to a special crypt at the general motherhouse in Olpe, and her cause for beatification has since been introduced in Rome. The sisters came to the United States because of the oppressive laws of the Kulturkampf. On Dec. 14, 1875, six sisters arrived in Lafayette, Ind., at the invitation of Joseph Dwenger, Bishop of Fort Wayne. In 1886 the foundations made in Indiana, Nebraska, and Ohio were constituted as an American province. In 1932 the whole congregation was divided into four provinces: two in Germany and two in the United States. Since 1993 there are four provinces: St. Elizabeth Province, Cologne, Germany, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province, for the area east of the Mississippi River, with its headquarters in Mishawaka, Ind., the St. Joseph province, for the western states, with its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Immaculate Conception province, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines.

[m. f. peters/

c. gentrup]

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (OSF)[1650]. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, formerly known as the Glen Riddle Franciscans, were founded in 1855 by Mother Mary Francis (Anna Maria) Bachmann, Sister Margaret (Barbara) Boll and Sister Bernardine (Anna) Dorn with the support of St. John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia, Pa. They became the first American community of Franciscan women following the Third Order Regular Rule of St. Francis. Throughout their history, they have been dedicated to serve the poor, the marginalized, and oppressed, directly and indirectly, by ministering in the United States, the Carribean, Central America, Europe, and Africa. Ministries include education, spiritual direction and pastoral care, health care, and counseling. Five other congregations: the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order (Syracuse, N.Y.; 1860); Sisters of St. Francis of the Third Order Regular (Williamsville, N.Y.; 1863); the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Virgin Mary Mother of God (Millvale, Pa.; 1871); the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Virgin (Hastingson-Hudson, N.Y.; 1893); and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God (Pittsburgh, Pa.; 1922), trace their roots to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

[e. kulaez]

Sisters of St. Francis of Savannah, Missouri (OSF) [1670]. The origin of this congregation of sisters began in Vöcklabruck, Austria, where the sisters provided day nurseries for children whose parents worked in factories. In 1850 Fr. Sebastian Schwarz organized a group of women who formed a community of sisters under the leadership of Mother Franziska Wimmer. As the community grew it branched out to other charitable services. In August of 1922, upon invitation from the Benedictines in Conception, Mo., twelve of these sisters came to Conception. The first superior and foundress was Mother Pia Feitenschlager. In 1935 the community moved to Chillicothe, Mo., and remained there until the purchase of the Dr. Nichols' Sanatorium in Savannah, Mo., in 1957. With the move to Savannah they established La Verna Heights Retirement Center, a nursing home for women. Besides the care of the elderly and infirm, the sisters established Subasio Center in the Provincial House for the care of persons with HIV/AIDS. The sisters remain involved in the education of adults and children and in various other social works.

Bibliography: m. a. spak, Die Armen Schulschwestern vom Dritten Orden des hl. Franziskus zu Voecklabruck (Vienna 1950).

[k. reichart]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross (OSF)[1550]. A diocesan congregation founded in 1874 by Edward Francis Daems, OSC, a missionary who worked in northeastern Wisconsin from 1851 to 1879. Fr. Daems established a religious society of women to assist in ministering to the Catholics who were immigrating from Canada and Europe. The community had its beginning in the work of Christine Rousseau, Pauline LaPlant, and Mary Pius Doyle, who in 1868 staffed a new parish school at Bay Settlement, Wis. They and a fourth woman were received into the Third Order of St. Francis in 1874 and were granted episcopal approbation by Bishop Francis Xavier Krautbauer of Green Bay in 1881. The sisters continue their work with new immigrants while continuing their ministries in education, health care, and pastoral work in Wisconsin and Nicaragua.

[d. shallow/

u. schumacher]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist of Independence, Missouri (OSF) [1560]. A diocesan congregation established in 1893 in the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and dedicated to the works of the active apostolate. The sisters trace their origin from the Franciscan convent of Grimmenstein, Switzerland, begun in 1378. In the latter part of the 19th century, five sisters, led by Mother M. John Hau, came to the United States to settle in Nevada, Mo. In 1900 they became an independent community with their own motherhouse and novitiate. In 1977 a mission was opened in Rodrigues Alves, Acre, Brazil, and in 1982 the motherhouse was moved to Independence, Missouri.

[m. j. peters]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Family (OSF)[1570]. A congregation with papal approbation whose motherhouse is located at Mount St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa (established in 1878). The community was founded in Herford, Germany, by Mother Xavier (Josephine Termehr, d. 1892) and approved by Bp. Konrad Martin of Paderborn in 1864. During the 11 years that the congregation existed in Germany the sister cared for children at Haus Bethlehem, a Herford orphanage, and nursed wounded soldiers during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars. In recognition of their services, the King of Prussia, William I, awarded the sisters the Iron Cross in 1872, but only three years later Bismarck's Kulturkampf forced them to leave Germany and go to the United States. The exiled community sailed from Rotterdam on the Caland and landed in New York on Sept. 5,1875. The little band, comprised of Mother Xavier, 17 sisters, seven novices, and four postulants, went directly to Iowa City, Iowa, where they staffed the German department of St. Joseph's Institute in 1875 and opened Mount St. Mary's Orphanage in 1876. Their stay in Iowa City terminated in 1878, when the community transferred to Dubuque to open the diocesan orphanage. In 1880 they built their first motherhouse; in 1925 a new and larger motherhouse was erected on the present site. The sisters serve numerous dioceses throughout the United States, as well as Africa and Central America.

[m. r. rosemeyer/

d. heiderscheit]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception (OSF) [1580]. A diocesan congregation established in 1890 when Mother Mary Pacifica Forrestal (18591948) and four companions assumed directorship of the diocesan orphanage in Metamora, Ill., at the request of John Lancaster Spalding, Bishop of Peoria. As the community grew the sisters' ministry extended to elementary education and care of the aging. The congregation is involved in teaching, parish work, care of the elderly, religious education, social work, hospital chaplaincy, retreats, spiritual direction, adult literacy, and prison ministry. These ministries are based in the dioceses of Peoria, Springfield, and Joliet, Ill., with a mission on Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota.

[v. butkovich]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (OSF) [1590]. A congregation with papal approbation (1943) whose generalate is in Dillingen an der Donau, Bavaria, Germany. In the United States, the provincialate is located in Hankinson, N. Dak. The community traces its origin to a group of women (perhaps originally beguines) whom Count Hartmann of Dillingen endowed with a convent in 1241. These religious adopted the rule of the Franciscan Third Order and led a strictly cloistered life for the greater part of their early history. Then, in 1774, the community changed to a semicloistered form of life and began educating girls. In 1913 the community sent sisters to the United States, where they opened a convent at Collegeville, Minn., in 1913. The provincial motherhouse in the United States was established in Hankinson, N. Dak., in 1928. After 1936 the congregation expanded from Dillingen to Brazil, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, India, and Albania. The sisters of the Hankinson province are largely engaged in healthcare, care for the elderly, and childcare, as well as education and catechesis.

Bibliography: m. p. koch, Die Franziskanerinnen in Dillingen, 12411829 (Landshut, Germany 1956). m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche, 2 v. (3d. ed Paderborn 193234) 2:29.

[m. p. forrest]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Virgin Mary Mother of God (OSF) [1620]. A congregation with papal approbation whose motherhouse is located in Millvale (Pittsburgh), Pa. The congregation is also known as the Millvale Franciscans. The congregation takes its heritage from the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia (formerly the Glen Riddle Franciscans) founded in 1855. In 1864 sisters went to Pittsburgh to solicit financial aid for their proposed hospital in Buffalo. While in Pittsburgh, a prominent Catholic physician, Dr. Philip Weisenberger, urged them to begin a hospital to serve the German immigrants. These sisters opened a 30-bed hospital. Soon afterwards the sisters began to teach in the elementary and high schools in the diocese. Today the work of the congregation focuses on education, health care, social services, and pastoral care. The sisters own and sponsor Mt. Alvernia, an all-female high school, as well as Mt. Alvernia Day Care and Learning Center located on their motherhouse campus. The congregation was the first in Pittsburgh to establish a volunteer program open to single men and women who commit themselves for a year of service with the poor while living a simple Franciscan lifestyle. The congregation largely serves in the Pittsburgh area; however, sisters minister throughout the United States, as well as Africa, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

[l. wesolowski]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George (OSF) [1600]. A congregation with papal approbation founded in Thuine, Germany, in 1869 by Pauline (Mother Anselma) Bopp (183587) under the direction of Rev. Gerhard Bernhard Dall (d. 1874) for the purpose of nursing the sick in their homes and caring for orphans. Community members are engaged in teaching, nursing, and social work in Brazil, Germany, Holland, the United States, Japan, Sumatra, and Africa. The sisters came to the United States in 1923, where they established their motherhouse and novitiate in Alton, Ill.

[m. i. rohner]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin (OSF) [1510]. A community that traces its origin to the congregation founded in 1855 by John Nepomucene neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia, and later known as the Glen Riddle Franciscans (now known as the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia). On July 2, 1882, the Franciscan Sisters of Buffalo, N.Y., a community that in 1861 became independent of Bishop Neumann's original foundation in Philadelphia, went to New York City at the request of Father John C. drumgoole to assist him in the care of orphaned and destitute children at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin. As the work at the mission expanded, it was deemed advisable to form another independent community, the Sisters of St. Francis, Conventuals of the Third Order. The separation took place in July of 1893, and Mother Mary Catherine was elected the first superior general of the new congregation. The original motherhouse at Mount Loretto, the extensive new site of the children's home on Staten Island, N.Y., was later transferred to Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. While continuing the child care at Mt. Loretto, the sisters expanded their apostolate to include health care in hospitals, day clinics, and nursing homes, as well as in education. They also serve as pastoral associates.

[j. a. ranieri/

r. s. smith]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God (OSF) [1660]. The congregation was founded in 1922 to preserve the faith of Lithuanian immigrants and their children and eventually extended its ministry to the broader Church. Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., the congregation is the fifth foundation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (formerly the Glen Riddle Franciscans) established by St. John Neumann of Philadelphia in 1855. Over the years the congregation staffed hospitals, elementary and secondary schools, and provided catechesis for public school children. Since Vatican II its ministries aim to meet contemporary needs with the new immigrants, the homeless, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the imprisoned. Sisters also provide spiritual direction, retreats, and the use of hermitages on their grounds. Since 1938 they have been meeting the educational, spiritual, and social needs of the people in various parts of Brazil, where they are based in São Paulo. They maintain schools and a social center, engage in parish ministry in areas where priests are few, work with base communities, provide health care, and assist the poor in literacy and housing programs, as well as food and clothing distribution.

Bibliography: m. c. popp, History of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pa., 18681938 (Millvale, Pa. 1939).

[m. jaskel]

Sisters of St. Francis of the Third Order Regular Williamsville, New York (OSF) [1800]. This community of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Third Order Regular stems from the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (formerly the Glen Riddle Franciscans), who were founded in 1855 in Philadelphia by Mother Mary Francis Bachmann with the help of St. John Neumann, bishop of Philadelphia. In 1861, responding to the needs in Buffalo, N.Y., a new foundation was established by Sister Mary Margaret Boll. As women at the service of life, the sisters are involved in education at various levels, health care, care of the elderly, pastoral work, counseling and spiritual direction, mission work, communications, social services, and prayer ministry. The sisters minister primarily in western New York, but also serve in four other states, as well as in Kenya, East Africa.

[b. leising]

Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (SSJ-TOSF) [3930] . A congregation with papal approbation (1917) founded on July 1, 1901, by Mothers Mary Clara Bialkowski and Mary Felicia Jaskulski. Guided by Rev. Luke Pescinski, pastor of St. Peter's Church in Stevens Point, a group of Polish sisters separated from the School Sisters of St. Francis, Milwaukee, to respond to the dire religious and social need for teachers of immigrant children in the growing Polish parishes of the Midwest and across the country. The sisters first responded to health-care needs in 1939, procuring the tuberculosis sanatarium just outside Stevens Point. Shortly afterwards they responded to calls for service in small hospitals in several states, including an integrated hospital in Mississippi. In 1949, the Congregation built Marymount Hospital on convent grounds in Garfield Heights, Ohio, the only hospital it currently sponsors. Inspired by the Second Vatican Council, with laity serving in Catholic schools and hospitals, some sisters responded to unmet needs such as ministry to the mentally and physically handicapped and their care-givers; organizational work in poor areas; pastoral roles in parishes, dioceses, hospitals, nursing homes, and senior apartments; sponsorship of ecumenical spirituality centers; and missionary work in Puerto Rico, Peru, Brazil, and South Africa. In 1943, St. Joseph Motherhouse and Novitiate were transferred to South Bend, Ind., centrally located to the three provinces in Stevens Point, Garfield Heights, and Bartlett (Ill.). In 1990, the congregation centralized offices in Stevens Point.

[j. m. peplinski]

Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother of the Third Order of St. Francis (SSM) [4100]. A congregation with papal approbation, dedicated to works of Christian charity, and following the rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. It was founded in Rome, Italy, by Mother Frances of the Cross (Amalia Streitel, 18441911), a native of Mellrichstadt, Germany. Having been educated by the Franciscan Sisters of Maria Stern in Augsburg and having experienced religious life in both Franciscan and Carmelite convents, she went to Rome in 1883 at the request of Father Franziskus Maria Jordan to organize a new community of sisters. Both soon discovered that their views concerning the foundation were divergent. The conflict was resolved in 1885 when the cardinal vicar of Rome, Lucido Maria Parocchi (18831903), appointed as spiritual director of the small community Rev. Dr. George Jacquemin (d. 1920) and named the new congregation Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. A rented dwelling close to St. Peter's Basilica became the first motherhouse in Rome. In accord with the instruction and example of their foundress, the sisters practice special devotion to Our Lady under the title of Sorrowful Mother. From Italy the community spread to Germany, Austria, the West Indies, and the United States, where the first foundation (St. Francis Hospital) was made in 1889 in Wichita, Kansas. The sisters established themselves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Iowa. Mother Frances' cause for beatification was introduced at Rome in 1947.

Bibliography: a. reichert, Mother Frances Streitel, Her Life and Work, tr. c. dominioni (Milwaukee 1948).

[m. c. koller]

Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order (OSF)[1490]. The Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order, Syracuse, N.Y., were founded in 1860 by Mother Mary Bernadine Dorn, one of the original group of the first native community of Sisters of St. Francis established in the United States (known as the Glen Riddle Franciscans). When the Conventual Franciscans accepted parishes in Syracuse and Utica, N.Y., they invited the Glen Riddle Sisters to join them and to staff the schools. The sisters accepted in March of 1860. The following November, with the approbation of Bp. John McCloskey of Albany, N.Y., the foundation in Syracuse was established. Four years later, the Sisters' first motherhouse and chapel in Syracuse were dedicated. In 1883 Mother Marianne Cope led a group of sisters to Hawaii to care for individuals with leprosy. She relinquished her position as superior general to become superior of the missions in Hawaii, where she remained for 35 years. In 1932 the order received the decree of papal approbation.

Dedicated primarily to education, the community developed a program of teacher training, including maintenance of Duns Scotus House of Studies at Catholic University of America, for the sisters in graduate work. St. Francis Normal School opened at the motherhouse in 1934 and later became Maria Regina College. The community's hospital medical centers include the only Catholic hospitals in Hawaii. The community has around 300 professed sisters who minister in education, healthcare, social services, and retreats throughout the United States and Peru.

[m. c. doran/

c. walter]

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis (OSF)[1770]. A congregation with papal approbation (1899) established in 1877. (The Franciscan Sisters of Rock Island, Ill., merged with the East Peoria sisters in 1989.) The East Peoria sisters stem from the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family of Dubuque, Iowa, who were canonically established in Herford, Germany, in 1864, and who came to the United States in 1875 during the Kulturkampf. The German community of 29 members settled first in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1875 and in 1878 established a motherhouse in Dubuque. Later, a few of the sisters went to Peoria to found a hospital. Bp. John Lancaster Spalding, first bishop of the Diocese of Peoria (18771908), seeing that the sisters were struggling in poverty and were without proper hospital facilities, offered to help, provided that the sisters would agree to establish their own independent community in his diocese. After consulting with their superior in Dubuque, the sisters consented to his request in 1877. Bp. Spalding then set about choosing the site for the future St. Francis Hospital and Motherhouse and helped the sisters draw up the constitutions of the community. Sister Mary Frances Krasse was elected the first superior of the new congregation, called the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. The apostolate of the sisters consists in caring for the sick, poor, injured, aged, and dying. The congregation conducts hospitals in Illinois and Michigan, and nursing homes in Iowa and Illinois. The community maintains a formal in-service program for the education of the junior sisters.

[m. c. james/

m. e. flannery]

St. Francis Mission Community (OSF) [1505]. Established in 1981 as an autonomous province of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate [1500]. The 20 professed sisters minister in education, parish ministry, and pastoral care in the dioceses of Amarillo and Lubbock, Tex., as well as the archdiocese of Los Angeles.

[r. roddy]

About this article

Franciscan Sisters

Updated About content Print Article


Franciscan Sisters