Mother Xavier Ross (1813-1895)

Today in 1895 marks the death of Mother Xavier Ross, foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. The daughter of a Methodist minister, Ann Ross converted to Catholicism at age fifteen and joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. She took the religious name of Xavier. For nearly twenty-five years she worked in schools and orphanages in Louisville and Nashville. In 1858, at the request of the local bishop, she brought a group of fifteen sisters and three orphan girls to start a new community in Leavenworth, Kansas. Within a few months they opened some of the first schools in the area. In 1864 they opened the first hospital in Leavenworth. They established foundations throughout the American West, including missions for Native Americans in Montana. By the time of her death, Mother Ross’ community had grown to three hundred sisters.

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