A Historical Overview


In 1849, nearly 175 years ago, the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi was founded to serve the German immigrant population in the vicinity of Milwaukee, Wis. The order, which was the first foundation of vowed Franciscan women to be established in the Unites States, grew to become a leader in the field of special education, and known for its commitment to social justice. Throughout its history, Sisters have served as teachers, social workers, pastoral ministers, and in other ministries of the church.

The year 1868 was the beginning of the congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore. Their story began in England. It continued in the United States when the Sisters arrived from Mill Hill to serve Baltimore’s African American residents.

On October 4, 2001, the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore merged with the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi.

Many commonalities exist between these two congregations of women religious. The most prominent is the missionary spirit that impelled these women to leave their homelands for America. Both had invitations from the bishops of their specific locales to come and minister to a particular population. Both persevered through difficult circumstances and grew in numbers and ministries. Today, our blended congregation continues in the tradition of our foundresses to serve those most in need in society:  the poor and disenfranchised; the student; those with special challenges; the homeless;  immigrants, migrants and refugees; and others in need of care and compassion.


Click here to view a timeline of the history of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi.  Click here for the timeline of the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore.

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