Celebrating 175 Years of Caring: 1849 - 2024

After two grueling months crossing land, ocean, and several Great Lakes, two priests from Ettenbeuren, Bavaria, and eleven lay people (five men and six women) of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi landed in Milwaukee, Wis. They were answering a call for Catholic missionaries to provide Christian education to German immigrants in the Diocese of Milwaukee. Two weeks later, on Pentecost Monday, May 28, 1849, the missionaries met with Milwaukee's first bishop, John Martin Henni. It was on this sacred day that Otille Dirr, one of the six women, founded The Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, taking the name Mother Aemiliana as the congregation's first Mother Superior.  

Ever since, May 28 has been celebrated as the congregation's Foundation Day, a testament to their unwavering faith and dedication to lovingly serving others. This year, 2024, we celebrate the 175th anniversary of that historic and transformative day.  (For more on the congregation's history, please click here.)

A Year of Celebrations

To mark this milestone anniversary, The Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi are holding a number of events. While the majority of these are private Masses and celebrations among the Sisters, Associates, and our religious community partners, we have set aside a few days to commemorate this historic anniversary with the public.  So please mark these days on your calendar. We hope you can join us!

Saturday, September 21, 2024: Pet Blessing

Time: 10 am

Bring your special pet to the convent grounds to be blessed by a Sister in front of the Grotto of St. Francis on convent grounds. All cats and dogs will receive a little pet treat.  Free gifts to pet owners too!  

Free parking. 

 

Saturday, September 28, 2024: Doors Open Milwaukee

Hours: 10 am - 4 pm

The convent grounds,  main lobby of Franciscan Shore (the new building providing assisted living and enhanced care apartments), and the Reiti Hermitage will be open to the public for self-guided tours for the 2024 Doors Open Milwaukee.  Please be sure to stop by our Cornerstone Gift Shop (inside Franciscan Shore), which will be open during the Doors Open event.  To help us celebrate, all guests will be offered a piece of "175th Anniversary Cake" inside Franciscan Shore.  A commemorative 175th poster and note cards, both designed by two Sister artists, plus a special magazine will be available for purchase in Cornerstone Gift Shop, along with other items. 

 Free parking.

Saturday, December 7, 2024: Holiday Boutique

Hours: 9 am to 3 pm

Stock up on Christmas cookies, jams, scarves, mittens, jewelry, and much more...all handcrafted by Sister artists! The 2024 Holiday Boutique is Saturday, December 7 in Troubadour Hall on convent grounds, 3221 South Lake Drive in St. Francis. Follow the signs to get there! There's something for everyone!

Free parking.

Thank you to our Sponsors

The following individuals, companies, and organizations have generously underwritten our year-long celebration. Their generous sponsorship funds the printing, catering, entertainment, and transportation costs for all public and private events celebrating this significant milestone year.  Thank you! 

 

 

                 Eleanor A. Ryan

 

 

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please click here to learn more. 

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