History of International Congregation

Our Congregation, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth was founded in Rome, Italy in 1875 by Frances Siedliska, a Polish noblewoman. In religious life, Frances was known as Mother Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd. In 1873, Frances had received the blessing of Pope Pius IX on her request to organize a new religious institute modeled on the life of the holy Family of Nazareth. Following the broad ecumenical vision of the foundress, our Congregation was international since its conception. Women of various nationalities have always been welcome. From Rome, the Congregation spread quickly throughout the world. Today, Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth continue a rich tradition of ministry to families in Australia, Belarus, England, France, Ghana, Italy, Israel, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States of America.

Our History in the USA

Ten years after the foundation in Rome, in 1885, our foundress and 11 pioneer sisters set out for Chicago, Illinois, where they had been invited to minister to the needs of Polish immigrant children and families. In a providential coincidence, the sisters arrived in New York harbor as the country was celebrating July 4th, Independence Day. Two days later, they arrived in Chicago to begin their ministry, and within two months were staffing two schools and an orphanage. In the U.S., the Congregation experienced phenomenal early growth and soon the sisters expanded their services to God’s people in the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the country. Eventually, the sisters brought their ministries – particularly education and healthcare to the Plains states and the Southwest. Throughout our history in the U.S., in 20 states and in Puerto Rico, hundreds of sisters have served families in schools, health care and in child care services, care of the elderly, retreat work, and in parish, prison and youth ministry. Today, some 250 sisters pray for and minister to families in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

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