The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother


The Congregation of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, also known as Sisters of Charity, under the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis Assisi, was founded in 1883, at Rome, by Mother Mary Frances Streitel, for the greater honor and glory of God, through the work of nursing and teaching. A few years after their establishment at Rome, two of the sisters were given papal permission to solicit alms in the United States. While they were in St. Louis for this purpose, ardent friends made successful efforts to have the sisters remain in the country and take charge of a small hospital in Wichita, Kansas. Negotiations to this effect were made, and in December, 1889, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother were received into the diocese by the Right Rev. John Joseph Hennessy, D.D., second bishop of Wichita, St. Francis’s Hospital in that city being considered their first American foundation. While retaining its affiliation with the General Motherhouse in Rome, on Via Aurelia, close to the Vatican, a United States Novitiate was established at St. Mary’s Convent, Marshfield, Wisconsin, and later transferred to Milwaukee, where Mother Johanna, pioneer Superior, resides as Superior General of the United States Community. The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, in addition to their parochial school work in various dioceses, conduct the St. Francis Health Resort in Denville, New Jersey, and have established and maintained many hospitals throughout the states. With those with whom they come in contact the sisters zealously strive to increase greater and special love for Our Lady of Sorrows and their patron, St. Francis of Assisi.



  • Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.
  • Founded in Italy in 1883.
  • Papal Approbation of Rules, March 6, 1911, by Pope Pius X.
  • Established in the United States in 1889.
  • Habit: The habit is of grey wool, the Community being under the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, in which the original habit was grey.
  • Approximate number in Community in United States, 450.
  • Active in educational and hospital work in the archdioceses of Milwaukee and Santa Fe, and in the dioceses of Green Bay, La Crosse, Newark, Oklahoma, Superior, Wichita, and Winona.
  • United States Novitiate, Convent of the Sorrowful Mother, North Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Elinor Tong Dehey, Religious Orders of Women in the United States (Hammond, IN: W.B. Conkey, 1930), 470-472.

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