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Consecrated Life Contact:

Maria Reinagel
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100 East Eighth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 263-6683

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The Company of St. Ursula

Lay women consecrated to Christ, in service to the world: that describes the Company of St. Ursula, Secular Institute of St. Angela Merici.

Professing the evangelical counsels, members live our lifelong, celibate consecration in the ordinary circumstances of family, friends, work, neighborhood, parish, and civic affairs. Our mission is to carry Christ’s love into our secular environment. We are active in our parishes and local Church. Secular institutes strive to be a Gospel salt and yeast in the world.

Though we live and work separately, we share a rhythm of daily prayer. Periodic gatherings nourish our sisterhood.

Creative, trusting women’s capacities, St. Angela Merici gathered women who had heard God’s call to be spouses of Christ in the world. She invented this new – utterly counter-cultural – form of consecrated life in the Catholic Church. Angela founded the Company in 1535 in Brescia, Italy. Her spiritual legacy continues to nourish us.

The worldwide Federation of Companies of St. Ursula (meaning spiritual companionship) has over 900 members. The Group of the USA, small but growing, was introduced in 2006, with its center in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Please visit us: and

For more information, contact Mary-Cabrini Durkin, 513-961-0667 or

For more information about the many secular institutes in the United States, visit

Franciscan Friars (O.F.M.) St. John the Baptist Province

Our way of life was established by St. Francis of Assisi 800+ years ago. Yes, our distinctive brown habit attracts attention. But most of all our lifestyle stands as a living witness to the joy of living the Gospel in the 21st century. We have fraternities of friars around the USA and even in Jamaica! We serve the Catholic Church in high schools, universities, parishes, in hospitals as chaplains, in inner city ministries, retreat houses, publishing (books, social media/internet content with “Franciscan Media”), and missions both foreign and domestic. In all of our ministries we preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, #becomeafriar and live the gospel in fraternity, in simplicity and most of all joyfully!

Catherine McAuley, an Irish Catholic lay person with a deep compassion for economically poor people, spent her inheritance to open the first House of Mercy in 1827 in Dublin, Ireland, as a place to shelter and educate women and children. Catherine’s original intention was to assemble a lay corps of Catholic social workers. Impressed by her good works and believing it was important to continue her ministry, the Archbishop of Dublin advised her to establish a religious congregation. Three years later, on December 12, 1831, Catherine and two companions became the first Sisters of Mercy.

On August 18, 1858, 11 Sisters of Mercy came to Cincinnati at the invitation of Archbishop John Baptist Purcell. Within two months after their arrival, they opened a Night School for Young Women and a School for Infant Boys. During their time in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Sisters of Mercy have taught in and led numerous schools. They continue to sponsor Mercy Montessori Center in Walnut Hills and opened Mercy McAuley High School on Oakwood Avenue (site of the former McAuley High School) in August 2018.

Catherine McAuley was very concerned about the care of sick people, and her legacy has been carried on through the years as her followers ministered at hospitals and clinics.

In direct service to economically poor people, the Sisters of Mercy sponsor Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Walnut Hills and East Walnut Hills. They established Mercy Professional Services for emotional healing and have given direction to Bethany House Services for homeless women and children. In addition, the Sisters of Mercy co-sponsor the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.

Faithful to Catherine McAuley’s vision of service through the works of mercy, all Sisters of Mercy profess a fourth vow of service to the poor, sick and ignorant (in addition to poverty, chastity and obedience). Whether teaching, providing health care, counseling, advocating for justice, or performing other works of mercy, sisters make God’s love, compassion and mercy visible in our world. The sisters are strengthened in their work through prayer, the sacraments, and the love and support of one another in community.

In addition, lay people who wish to dedicate a year or more of service can join in the Mercy mission through Mercy Volunteer Corps. Men and women who seek to deepen their relationship with God in partnership with the Sisters of Mercy can join them as Mercy associates.

For more information about the Sisters of Mercy, please contact Sister Marjorie Rudemiller, RSM, at 513-305-1812 or Or visit the Sisters of Mercy website: You also can find them on Facebook and Twitter (@sistersofmercy).

Franciscan Sisters of the Poorgenerating compassion and hope in the community of life

Garden at the St. Clare Convent, home of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor

St. Francis of Assisi is a significant person in the history of Christian spirituality; he transformed the church and religious life as we know it to be today. He was born the son of a successful cloth merchant in Assisi, Italy in 1181. One day while in prayer, Francis experienced what may be called a conversion. He was asked by Jesus: “Francis, rebuild my Church, which has fallen into ruins.” In response to God, he became a peacemaker and healer, dedicated to helping the poor in their suffering. He attracted a large group of disciples; today these followers number in the millions!

Fast forward eight centuries, the people of God remain to be in need of peace, healing and hope. Today, St. Francis of Assisi’s love for Jesus and the poor continues to inspire the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor.

Founded in 1845 by Blessed Frances Schervier in Aachen, Germany, who was inspired by the Gospel values of St. Francis of Assisi, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor are women religious called to bring compassion, hope and healing to the community of life. Their compassion and hope to those in need is exemplified as they house the homeless, care for children and families, feed the hungry, minister to the sick, offer compassion and hope to the hopeless, and care for the community of life. They are from many countries and cultures yet they are one – in communion with each other and the Church and are especially united through their deep spirit of communal prayer. Today the Sisters pray and work in the United States, Brazil, Italy, Senegal, and the Philippines.

Locally, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor have their feet on the streets while keeping with their founder, Blessed Frances Schervier’s commitment to society’s most marginalized groups.

Tamar’s Place, located in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine area, began as a ‘lifeline of hope/help’ for those trapped in prostitution. The goal is give an opportunity to feel safe enough to ask for referrals to other programs like drug rehabilitation, housing, or employment so as to help improve their lives and leave a life of prostitution. Visit to see what the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor are doing to help the victims of Human Trafficking.

Franciscan Haircuts from the Heart provides hair care to the poor and homeless. This licensed professional walk-in-salon provides haircuts, perms, and relaxers to low-income and homeless children and adults. The salon is located near Findlay Market in Mercy Franciscan St. John Social Services.

Tau Community House, located in St. Bernard, Ohio provides an opportunity for young people and adults to experience a diverse culture, prayers, an d community living in a simple lifestyle. Franciscans for the Poor recruits, selects, and places individuals in non-profit agencies that give an opportunity to bond with others for insight into the causes and effects of poverty. While here, volunteers live a simple, communal lifestyle.

Our Lady of the Woods (OLW) is a senior independent living community that provides a healthy environment which promotes independence and dignity to the elderly. It is supported solely by individual donors and grants; OLW receives no public funding.

The Centennial Barn evolved from the concept of a community gathering place on the grounds of St. Clare Convent. Completely remodeled into a beautiful and serene venue for meetings, wedding receptions, and a variety of events that improve body as well as soul, it also offers community gardens which last year donated over 2500 pounds of produce to local charities.

A religious vocation to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor calls people to consecrate their lives to service of the poor and marginalized worldwide. If you would like to learn more about what it is like to be a Franciscan Sister of the Poor or if you would like to schedule a vocations presentation at your school or organization, please contact Ruthy Trusler, Vocations Facilitator at St. Clare Convent, 761-9040 x 132, or visit:

Poor Clares of Cincinnati

They are a contemplative order of the Franciscan tradition. Below is a “fact sheet” of sorts provided by Sr. Vickie Griner, vocation director, for the Poor Clares of Cincinnati.

We are a community of sisters known as the Poor Clares, the contemplative branch of the Franciscan family, founded by St. Clare of Assisi in the 13 century. As Poor Clares,  we take the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and enclosure. Our mission is to pray for the needs of the church, the world, and all people.

In 2009 we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the beginning of the Franciscan movement and the 150th anniversary of the Tyrolese friar missionaries becoming the Custody of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2012, we celebrated 800 years of Poor Clares, and the 22th anniversary of the day the first Poor Clare took up residence in Cincinnati, at the invitation of the Minister Provincial of St. John the Baptist Province, for the purpose of forming a Poor Clare foundation and bringing the contemplative Franciscan tradition to the area.

1212 On Palm Sunday, March18, 1212, the young noble woman, Clare di Offreduccio, became the first of St. Francis of Assisi’s “Poor Ladies” at Our Lady of Angels, the Portiuncula. Thousands of pilgrims continue to visit the Portiuncula each year, where the Franciscan movement began.

1253 On August 9, 1253, Clare became the first woman to have the Rule she wrote receive Papal approval. Clare died two days later. Clare had spent 40 years with her sisters at San Damiano living the life of the gospel. Many women wanted to follow Clare’s example. During that 40 year period, 147 monasteries had been founded throughout Europe.

1255 Two years after her death, on August 15, 1255, Clare was canonized by Pope Alexander IV.

1875 Mother Mary Magdelene Bentivoglio was sent by Pope Pius IX to the United States to found a Poor Clare monastery. Although attempts were made in these early years, Cincinnati would not see a Poor Clare foundation for many years.

1956 The Poor Clares in Evansville, Indiana requested Archbishop Alter of Cincinnati to permit the sisters to establish a Poor Clare monastery, but Cincinnati would have to wait another 34 years for a Poor Clare foundation.

1990 On June 24, 1990, Sr. Doris Gerke, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, Sr. Anna Marie Covely, Langhorne, PA, and Sr. Dianne Short, Bronx, NY, moved into St. Vivian’s Parish Convent in Cincinnati. The Duncan, B.C. monastery became the sponsoring monastery for this Poor Clare foundation.

1991 On January 2, 1991, Rome approves the establishment of the foundation in Cincinnati.

1996 On September 1, 1996, after many prayers, and the generous donations from many benefactors, the sisters celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony and blessing by Archbishop Pilarczyk for the new monastery building project.

1998 On March 19, 1998, Archbishop Pilarczyk presided at the first Mass in the Chapel at our new Monastery on Miles Road.

2002 On April 13, 2002, we celebrated our first Solemn Profession of Sr. Ann Bartko. Sr. Ann’s brother, Fr. Louis Bartko, a friar with St. John the Baptist Province, was one of the concelebrants.

 We are thankful for the many blessings we have received during our first 22 years here in Cincinnati.

Visitors are Welcome (Please contact us for more information)
Meeting Room– Our Meeting Room provides space for up to 35 people to meet for workshops, day long group retreats, meetings or special occasions.
Guest Area– Our Guest Area provides a wonderful prayerful atmosphere for those who want to schedule a private retreat.
Chapel – We welcome anyone who wants to come and share in prayer with us for Mass, Morning, Noon and Evening prayer.

Vision Statement

As followers of Clare and Francis, this is what we ardently seek and long for: To live as a loving community the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in poverty, littleness, simplicity, and joy; open and sensitive to the Spirit working within us, among us, and beyond us; lovingly surrendering ourselves to the Lord; witnessing to the primacy of contemplative prayer and trusting in the care of the Lord each day of our lives.

Our Ministries

For more information, please contact:
Monastery of St. Clare
1505 Miles Road
Cincinnati, OH 45231

Telephone: (513) 825 -7177

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

From Sr. Mary St. Kisai Corripio, SNDdeN of the US Vocation Team for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The sisters have been active in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati since 1840 and run a Catholic high school and elementary school in Cincinnati. For more information about the sisters visit their website at or email Kristin Matthes or (240) 863-1916.

Sacred friendship is at the heart of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.  The foundational friendship is that between God and our foundress St. Julie Billiart.  This friendship was born when Julie was very small, persevered and deepened through trial, illness and persecution. It is the friendship through which God planted the charism which the congregation still carries today: the intimate awareness of God’s goodness and the desire to embody that goodness for the world.

The Congregation was founded during the turbulent years following the French Revolution.  In preparation for its founding God forged a friendship between two very different women, Julie Billiart, a poor simple woman from a village north of Paris, and Viscountess Françoise Blin de Bourdon.  Francoise, as a member of the aristocracy had narrowly escaped being guillotined.  Julie poor, yet well loved for her deep faith and courage had been rented a room by a friend and benefactress in the Blin residence in Amiens.  The two met when Francoise paid a visit to her invalid tenant, and they discovered in each other a common love for God that drew them together into what has been called, “the greatest recorded friendship between women in the history of religious life.”

Together they professed their first vows as Sisters of Notre Dame in 1804 after having known each other for ten years.   And seeing the needs of the times, they dedicated themselves to the education of the poor, especially women and girls.  Julie had the vision that her daughters would go “to the ends of the earth,” so she exhorted them to have hearts as wide as the world.  Indeed, the congregation grew rapidly and spread to multiple dioceses in France and Belgium.

After her death, the first foreign mission was realized, and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, left Belgium for the New World, settling first in Cincinnati in 1840.  Soon after, the Sisters founded missions in Congo, Great Britain, and now have sisters in 17 countries across five continents

In the USA, too, God blessed the congregation with a sacred friendship between the Superior Louise Van der Schrieck and her protégé, Sister Julia McGroarty, who had been the first woman to enter the congregation in the US and also became successor to Louise as Superior of the US Province.

Their collaboration set the firm foundations for the Congregation in the United States, now numbering nearly 900 sisters from coast to coast.  The sisters still hold education as our primary call, manifest in a diversity of ministries.  We have three universities:Trinity Washington University  in Washington, DC,   Emmanuel College in Boston,   and Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA;  and several high schools and elementary schools, adult education centers, etc. In Cincinnati, the sisters founded and continue to staff Mt. Notre Dame High School in 1860  and Corryville Catholic in 1877.

More recently, the sisters have opened ministries to serve those lacking material resources. One such ministry is Cincinnati Housing Partners, a program dedicated to increasing home-ownership opportunities for families in the Cincinnati area. The organization builds houses or purchases houses and rehabilitates them with the help of volunteers. The homes are sold to low-to-moderate income families. Homeowners also attend classes that teach the skills required for successful home ownership. Another is the West End Center which provides human services to encourage self-sufficiency and interdependence. Programs include: Power Inspires Progress and the West End Emergency Center/Food Bank.

For more information about these ministries or to volunteer see

You can learn more about the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at

And to learn about how to become a sister of Notre Dame de Namur, contact Sister Kristin Matthes ( or 240-863-1916.

Sisters of the Precious Blood

By Precious Blood Sister Mary Lou Schmersal. To learn more about the sisters, please visit their community website at or contact us at

The Sisters of the Precious Blood are an active apostolic congregation devoted to Eucharistic prayer and motivated by the sacrifice of Jesus. In imitation of the life-giving, reconciling power of the Precious Blood of Christ, sisters offer care, comfort, aid, and healing. They serve those in need across the United States and in Chile and Guatemala.

Maria Anna Brunner

Maria Anna Brunner

The congregation was founded in 1834 by Maria Anna Brunner, a Swiss widow of six children. Following an intense religious experience during a pilgrimage to Rome, Mother Brunner, then age 70, gathered around her several women for Eucharistic adoration and ministry to the poor. She died in 1836 leaving behind the women who eventually became the Sisters of the Precious Blood. 

Cincinnati Bishop John Baptist Purcell invited Precious Blood Sisters to the United States in 1844 to minister primarily to German-speaking immigrants in northern Ohio. The sisters accompanied the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, whose pioneering member in the United States was Father Francis de Sales Brunner, son of Mother Brunner.

Ph02 Mary Crib

Mary at the Crib convent in New Riegel. The orphans in this 1848 photo were cared for by Precious Blood Sisters following the cholera epidemic.

The first sisters settled temporarily in Peru, Ohio, eventually moving to nearby New Riegel, Ohio, where on December 22, 1844, they moved into a new convent named in honor of Mary at the Crib. Under the direction of Father Brunner, the sisters in the early years were part of 10 foundations in western Ohio and in nearby Jay County, Indiana.

Sisters prayed hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and maintained the convents. They ministered to children by opening and operating schools and orphanages, especially for German Catholic immigrants.

The first motherhouse of the Sisters of the Precious Blood was established at Maria Stein, Ohio, in 1846. The community increased in membership, created houses for Eucharistic adoration and began to expand its ministries to meet new needs, including religious instruction, domestic work in seminaries and bishops’ residences, ministry among Native Americans, and care for the sick and elderly.

Ph03 Mule

Sisters at an Indian Mission with their heavily-laden four footed friend in Arizona.

In 1903, the Sisters accepted a mission in Arizona, before it was even a state. A decade later they responded to an invitation to create a school in San Luis Rey in southern California.

Ph04 Maria_Stein_Shrine

Maria Stein Shrine

The community moved its motherhouse to Dayton in 1923. The original motherhouse in Maria Stein is now a popular pilgrimage destination and home of the Shrine of the Holy Relics.


In 1956, five Precious Blood Sisters from the United States set sail for Chile, in response to a request from Pope Pius XII for religious communities to minister in Latin America. Precious Blood Sisters began ministering in Guatemala in the late 1980s.

Several sisters have provided temporary service to people who suffered emergencies both here and around the world.  In 2005, two sisters went to India and worked with survivors of the tsunami that devastated so much of the country.

Karen Elliiott - Katrina

Sister Karen Elliott, left, and her students from Mercy College of Northwestern Ohio responded to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005

Precious Blood Sisters have participated in international peacekeeping efforts in the Palestinian Territories. After the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, sisters went to live and work there, offering people healing and reconciliation.

Sisters of the Precious Blood today serve in a variety of ministries including education, spiritual direction, medicine, social work and community outreach.


Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

From Sister Carolyn Brink of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. For more information about the Sisters of Mercy or their vocation ministry, please contact Sister Marjorie Rudemiller, RSM 513-662-4657 or Visit the Sisters of Mercy website: You may also find them on Facebook and Twitter (@sistersofmercy).

Catherine McAuley, of Dublin, Ireland, having a deep compassion for poor people, founded a House of Mercy for women and children in 1827.  To ensure the continuity of her ministry, Catherine was advised to form a religious community.  She and two companions pronounced vows on December 12, 1831.

On August 18, 1858 eleven Sisters of Mercy came to Cincinnati at the invitation of Archbishop John Baptist Purcell.  Within two months after their arrival they opened a Night School for Young Women and a School for Infant Boys. During their time in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati the Sisters of Mercy have taught in numerous schools.  They continue to serve in parish elementary schools while sponsoring Mercy Montessori Center in Walnut Hills.  They also sponsor Mother of Mercy High School and McAuley High School.

The care of the sick was very dear to Catherine McAuley.  Through Catholic Healthcare Partners

The Sisters of Mercy sponsor seven acute care facilities and five long term centers in the Archdiocese.  They also sponsor two social services centers.

In direct service to poor people, the Sisters of Mercy sponsor Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Walnut Hills.  They have established Mercy Professional Services for emotional healing and have given direction to Bethany House Services for Homeless women and children.

People who wish to dedicate a year or more of service may join in the Mercy mission through Mercy Volunteer Corps.   Men and women who seek to deepen their relationship with God in partnership with the Sisters of Mercy join them as Mercy Associates.

Faithful to Catherine’s vision of service through the works of mercy, all Sisters profess a fourth vow of service to the poor, sick and ignorant.  From teaching, nursing, and a variety of works of mercy, Sisters make the compassion, love, and mercy of God visible in our world. The Sisters are strengthened in their work through prayer, the sacraments, and the love and support of one another in community.

Congregation of Divine Providence

CDPThe year is 1762, the country France. Jean Martin Moye, a young parish priest, was touched by the poverty and spiritual hunger of villagers living in Lorraine’s countryside. He was particularly moved by the lack of educational opportunities for women and young girls as well as the absence of faith formation in the region. Convinced that something must be done to meet these needs, Father Moye educated several young women. On January 14, 1762, he sent them to live among and minister to the people in the small rural hamlets of Alsace Lorraine. This was the beginning of the Congregation of Divine Providence. Father Moye’s belief was that the mission would succeed only if the people welcomed the sisters; if it was God’s will that this little project succeed, God would provide! He gave them the title “Poor Sisters of the Child Jesus” but the people served, recognizing the sisters’ strong reliance on Providence, called them Sisters of Providence, the title which remains ours to this day. In the subsequent years, the number of young women attracted to this group grew steadily. The civil unrest in the region also grew.

In the late 1880’s, Bismarck’s Kulturkamp was making it difficult for religious communities to work in France. Alsace-Lorraine had been annexed to Germany as a result of the Franco-Prussian War. At the same time, the Congregation’s novitiate had grown large.  The need to find a new place of ministry for the large number of women preparing to become Sisters of Divine Providence led the superiors to seek a place in the United States to begin a new branch of the Congregation. In 1866, Sisters were sent from the Motherhouse in Saint Jean de-Bassel, France to Texas. But this group, at the insistence of the Bishop of San Antonio, had severed ties with the motherhouse and become a diocesan congregation. It was to Kentucky that the next group would come. Trying to determine where to send the sisters, Mother Anna Houlne opened a Catholic Directory at random. At first glance she saw the name of Bishop Camillus Paul Maes and, believing this to be an answer to prayer, wrote the Bishop a letter requesting him to consider allowing her to send sisters to the Diocese of Covington. The Bishop, who was looking for sisters who could minister to the German speaking immigrants in his diocese, gratefully accepted Mother Anna’s proposal. On August 23, 1889 three sisters arrived in Kentucky. These first women worked in parish schools in the Northern Kentucky area. As their numbers grew, so did their ministries. Since their arrival in the United States, the Sisters of Divine Providence have ministered in the fields of education, health care and pastoral care. They’ve ministered to orphans, seminarians, Native Americans and have been involved in social work, religious education, spiritual direction and retreat ministry, social justice and environmental education.  Several sisters also minister in Ecuador.  Whatever their ministry, the sisters strive to be the face of Providence to those they serve and to witness the Providence of God.

Since 1898, the sisters have operated Jeanne d’Arc Residence in Manhattan. Young women of limited means from all over the world call Jeanne d’Arc home while pursuing studies or establishing their career her in the U.S.

On June 19, 2010, the Congregation began a new ministry: El Centro de la Provendencia. Staffed by volunteers, English lessons are offered daily to the growing Hispanic community in Northern Kentucky.

St. Anne Wetlands, a beautiful wet forested area dedicated to education and research is owned by the Congregation. This property has been placed into a conservation easement to  assure educational and research opportunities well into the future.

If you would like to learn more about what it is like to be a Sister of Divine Providence, you can visit our website: or contact Sr. Theresa Falkenstein at:  St Anne Province Center, 5300 St. Anne Drive, Melbourne, KY  41059, (859) 441-0700 x23,  or Sr. Lynn Stenken at (859) 441-0700 x22.

Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg

For more information about the Oldenburg Franciscans or their vocation ministry, please contact Sister Patti Zureick, OSF at 812-933-6417 or Visit the Oldenburg Franciscan website at You can also find them on Facebook.

Sr. Theresa Hackelmeier, A Franciscan from Vienna, Austria arrived in Oldenburg, Indiana, January 6 1851, after traveling from Austria aboard the New Yorker to New York, and by canal boat and then horse and buggy. She was welcomed by Fr. Francis Rudolph, pastor of Holy Family Parish and by three young women interested in religious life. These four women ministered to the youth in southeastern Indiana through education and care of orphans. A fire in 1857 destroyed virtually everything. In order to rebuild, Mother Theresa solicited alms door-to-door in Cincinnati, OH and in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of 33, Mother Theresa died, September 27, 1860. By 1884, there were 234 members and they staffed 54 schools.

Nia Kumba Spirituality Center

Prayer Lodge

Our Sisters still minister through education, parish ministry, spiritual direction and care of Earth. We continually reach out to other cultures through our Spirituality Centers for African and African American women at Nia Kuumba, in St. Louis MO.

Prayer Lodge Members

The Sisters also maintain a 300-acre farm, called Michaela Farm, named after Sr. Michaela, one of the first three women to greet Sr. Theresa upon her arrival in Oldenburg. Sr. Michaela became the caretaker of the farm. Today the farm’s staff plus volunteers keep the farm in operation and offer environmental education, spiritual renewal opportunities and natural farming practices.

In addition to the farm, the sisters also maintain two corporate ministries: Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception, founded in 1852, and Marian University, established in 1851. Oldenburg Academy is a co-educational, Catholic college preparatory high school located on the Motherhouse campus. Marian University, originally established by the Sisters to prepare Sisters to teach, is now a Catholic, Franciscan, co-educational, liberal arts university located in Indianapolis, IN. It is also the recent home of the Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary program attended by many of the college seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

On the Motherhouse campus you will also find the Oldenburg Franciscan Center. It is a retreat and conference center located in Olivia Hall. It was formally opened to the public in June 2003. The Center provides retreats and programs that nurture spirit, mind, and body.

Sisters of Notre Dame

From Sister Mary Ruth Lubbers of the Sisters of Notre Dame. For more information about the Sisters of Notre Dame or their vocation ministry, please contact Sister Mary Ruth Lubbers, SND at 859-392-8118 or Visit the SND website at and

The Sisters of Notre Dame is an international congregation with a history that goes back to 1850 when God called two young women, Hilligonda Wolbring and Elizabeth Kuhling, to respond to the needs of the children in their classes who had no one to care for them.  The two brought the children home and gave them a safe place to live.  As more children came under their care, it was decided to establish a religious community.  With the help of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Amersfoort, The Netherlands, Hilligonda and Elizabeth entered into religious formation.  They became known as Sister Mary Aloysia and Sister Mary Ignatia, respectively.  The Amersfoort sisters had been formed in the spirit of Julie Billiart and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Times in Germany became difficult under Bismarck and his Culture War.  The Sisters needed to leave Germany; they began to migrate to the United States of America in 1874 where there were many German immigrants in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio and Covington, KY.  Bishop Augustus Toebbe of Covington was a brother to one of the Sisters in Germany and requested Sisters for his diocese.  The Sisters first came to Mother of God Church and School.  In the subsequent years, many Sisters arrived and began to teach in schools in the Northern Kentucky area.  In time the community grew in Covington and the Archbishop of Cincinnati invited the Sisters to come and teach in schools and take over St. Aloysius Orphanage, in the spirit of the founding Sisters.  Over the years, the Sisters have also ministered in the dioceses of Birmingham, Alabama, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky to respond to the needs of the People of God in those areas.

The Sisters sponsor Notre Dame Academy an all-girls high school in Park Hills, KY where they are educating young women to make a difference in the world.

Julie Learning Center, also sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame, provides an enrichment program for four- and five-year-olds.  The Sisters have made a commitment to working with students in the urban areas.  They still minister in schools to which the Sisters first came upon arriving in the States in the 1870’s.

Recently the Notre Dame Urban Education Center was started tooffer transformative educational programs to individuals and families, providing support.  Students are helped on a daily basis after school through instructional tutoring, creative play, Fine Arts enrichment, and physical education.  Through the assistance of many volunteers, young people from the urban area are improving in their school performances and their lives.

The sisters also have served the People of God in the health care ministry, sponsoring St. Charles Care Center in Ft. Wright, KY to care for the elderly and St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, KY to care for the people of Appalachia.  These institutions strive to proclaim God’s goodness through the healing ministry of Jesus.

In 1995, the Sisters opened a mission in Buseesa, Uganda, East Africa along with Sisters from the California province to help raise the standards of education and prepare young people for Catholic leadership in the poorest bush region of the Hoima diocese.  St. Julie Primary School was opened in 1998 and Notre Dame Academy Secondary School in 2003.