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In 1849, a band of women from Bavaria in southern Germany, founded the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi on the shores of Lake Michigan, shown in our website banner. It is a very beautiful body of water which continually provides a horizon of openness and possibility. Informally, the Congregation is often referred to as the “Lake Franciscans.”
The lake is also a reminder of how precious God’s gifts are and challenges us to be worthy guardians of all that is entrusted to us. Sister Water – this is the way that St. Francis of Assisi addressed water. It signified the respect he had for this element of creation. In addressing all aspects of creation as either Sister or Brother, Francis demonstrated his desire to be in relationship with all of creation.
It was Bishop John Martin Henni who invited the women from Bavaria to the Lake Michigan shore to help with the needs of the 19th century German immigrants. Over the course of time, the people the sisters have served have changed as needs changed.
What has proved to be constant throughout our history is our trust in the Providence of God. Strengthened by our bond of community as Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, we are moving into an uncharted future, as has every Sister before us. We strive to address the unmet needs of today, walking in the footprints of Saints Clare and Francis in mutually sustaining ways with all of creation.
Our Franciscan response to the needs of today is rooted in the Gospel, our willingness to transform ourselves and our congregation in order to contribute an alternative reality for the future. We strive to live out of a stance of peace instead of violence; littleness instead of greatness; love instead of indifference; joy instead of sadness; other centeredness instead of selfishness. We desire to pray, celebrate, laugh and minister together with a common heart and common mind.