Franciscan Sisters

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As a Franciscan different are religious orders and congregations designated for women who comprise the members of the Third Order of St. Francis emerged. These are also called Terziarinnen or "regulated third order". The majority of the Franciscan Sisters live after the Vita activa with an apostolate in the field of care for the needy, the weak, the sick and the elderly as well as the upbringing and education also the preaching of the Gospel.

Historical development

The oldest communities have their historical origins in the spiritual poverty movement of the 13th century. This poverty movement also included a strong women's movement. The emerging women's communities showed independent spiritual impulses and religious traits, but were unable to assert themselves against the church authorities with their own religious rules (the only exception at this time were the Poor Clares ).

Mainly out of fear of heresies and religious enthusiasm , the ecclesiastical integration of the emerging communities was an important concern of the papal curia. The usual realization of this goal consisted in obliging the new women's communities to adopt already existing religious rules or to subordinate them to established male religious communities. In addition to the Dominicans, the Franciscans were the main choices. Most of the small communities that became Franciscan Sisters in this way in the 13th and 14th centuries, most of which were individual foundations without branches, died out in the Thirty Years' War , were banned during the secularization or abolished during the French occupation. The remaining communities such as the Dillinger Franciscan Sisters and the Star Women or Star Sisters in Augsburg are rare exceptions.

After the end of the Kulturkampf, the 19th century saw strong growth in new socially and charitable women's communities who were often attracted to the ideals of St. Francis and based their statutes on the Franciscan rule of third orders. For the first time, a new type of religious came into being: While religious sisters lived a primarily contemplative life in the area of ​​their closed monasteries , the new religious women strive out into the world to alleviate the misery and needs of people with social commitment.

In contrast to the 13th century, the ecclesiastical integration of these new communities was less often shaped by interventions by the ecclesiastical authorities, and the orientation towards Franciscan rule was more voluntary. Many communities were initially founded on the initiative of a parish priest and individual young women who felt addressed by the need of the people, and then quickly grew in membership, so that new branches in a wide area were possible.

One reason for being able to make one's own decisions was a change in canon law : the new communities were not classified as orders , but as congregations or societies of apostolic life (cf. religious order ), which have greater legal freedom. Most of the communities were initially subordinate to a bishop, some later changed their status to a congregation under papal law when the branches established crossed the diocesan borders or even included missions abroad.

Franciscan Sisters are today in a multitude of different congregations, each with their own history and community rule. The size of the communities varies considerably. According to the information in the Annuario Pontificio of 1992 (with figures from 1990), the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of Mary formed the largest Franciscan women's congregation worldwide with 8474 members.

List of Franciscan women's communities

It is hardly possible to compile a complete list of all the branches of the various Franciscan women's congregations. In contrast to monastic orders, the sisters mostly live in small shared apartments, often in rented houses or apartments near their place of work. These convents often only exist for a few years or decades as long as the local sisters are active. However, the motherhouse and, depending on the area of ​​responsibility, also individual convents are occasionally located in old monasteries that were expropriated during the secularization and later made available to the newly emerging women's orders.

The congregations in the table are arranged alphabetically by motherhouse. In the Motherhouse / Provincial Office column there is e.g. T. unlinked location information. Then there is usually a further entry in at least one further section in which the respective other location (or the other locations) are linked.

A to G

official name of the congregation other common names Motherhouse / Provincial Office More branches founding year Seal
Poor Sisters of Saint Francis Shear Sisters, Aachen Franciscan Sisters Aachen Germany, Belgium, USA, Italy 1845 SPSF
Hospital Sisters of St. Elisabeth of Aachen Elisabethinnen Aachen Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Canada 1622 EYELET
Congregation of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother Abenberger sisters Abenberg or Rome (Generalate) Austria, Germany, USA, Brazil, Italy 1883 SSM
Franciscan Sisters of Penance Franciscan Sisters of Aiterhofen Aiterhofen Germany, Brazil, Bolivia 1840 OSF
Congregation of the School Sisters of the 3rd Order of St. Francis Franciscan Sisters of Amstetten Amstetten Austria 1823
Sisters of Mercy of the 3rd Order of St. Francis Franciscan Sisters of Arnstorf Arnstorf Germany
Franciscan Sisters of Au am Inn Au am Inn Germany, Brazil 1854
Franciscan Sisters of Maria Stern Star women, star sisters augsburg Germany, Brazil, Congo, Mozambique 1258 OSF
Sisters of Divine Providence Baldegger sisters, formerly service and teaching sisters at Sankt Jost zu Baldegg Baldegg (Switzerland) Switzerland, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea 1830 OSF
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception Franciscan Sisters of Bonlanden Bonlanden Württemberg, Brazil, Paraguay 1855 OSF
Soeurs Franciscaines de la Croix du Liban Notre-Dame du Puits Bkennaya Lebanon 1950
Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Maria Hilf Bogotá (Colombia) Latin America, Africa, Switzerland, Austria 1892
Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Recollections Bonn Belgium, Germany 1623
Immaculate Sisters of the Seraph Apostolate Brandenburg in Swabia Southern Germany 1933
Tertiary Sisters of Bressanone School Sisters of the 3rd Order of St. Francis Seraphicus Brixen South Tyrol, Austria, Cameroon, Bolivia 1700
Dillinger Franciscan Sisters Dillingen on the Danube Germany, Brazil, USA, India 1241 OSF
Servants of the holy childhood of Jesus Franciscan nuns in Oberzell Zell near Würzburg Germany, South Africa 1901 OSF
Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph Franciscan Sisters of Dubuque Dubuque USA , Honduras founded
in Herford in 1864 , expelled from the Kulturkampf in 1875 , since then in the USA
1864 OSF
Sisterhood of the 3rd Order of St. Francis in Ecksberg Ecksberger sisters Ecksberg near Mühldorf am Inn Southern Germany 1871/1938
Franciscan Sisters of Erlenbad Congregation of the School Sisters of St. Francis, School Sisters of St. Francis Erlenbad ( Obersasbach ) / Milwaukee (Wisconsin) USA, Germany, Switzerland, Honduras, South America, India 1859 or 1873 SSSF
Sisters of Mercy of St. Elisabeth Eat -Bredeney North Rhine-Westphalia 13th century / 1843
Franciscan Sisters of Family Care Servants of seraphic love Food -bedrade Bielefeld, Gladbeck, Harsewinkel, Schleiden, Paderborn 1919
Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family Eupener Franciscan Sisters Eupen , Mayen Aachen, Cologne, Hennef, Belgium, Netherlands, Republic of the Congo 1857 OSF
Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Maria Hilf Frastanz (Austria) Austria, Switzerland, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil 1888 FMMH
Merciful Sisters of the Holy Cross Sisters of the Cross of Gemünden Gemünden am Main / Ingenbohl (Switzerland) 1844 SCSC
Franciscan Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus Franciscan Sisters of Gengenbach Gengenbach Southern Germany, Switzerland, Chile, Peru 1866 OSF
Nazareth Sisters of St. Francis Congregation of the Nazareth Sisters of St. Franziskus eV Goppeln (near Dresden) Saxony 1923
Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception Graz school sisters (not to be confused with the Bonlanden sisters of the same name) Generalate in Graz (Austria), motherhouse in Algersdorf Austria, Slovenia, Montenegro, Brazil, South Africa, France 1843

H to M

official name of the congregation other common names Motherhouse / Provincial Office More branches founding year Seal
Merciful Sisters of the Holy Cross Franciscan Sisters of Gnadensee, Sisters of the Cross of Hegne Hegne / Ingenbohl (Switzerland) 1856 SCSC
Sisters of penance and Christian love Heiligenbronn sisters Heiligenbronn (Württemberg) Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart 1857
Sisters of St. Paul Paul sisters Herxheim near Landau / Pfalz Diocese of Speyer, Diocese of Passau, Diocese of Bethlehem in South Africa 1896
Merciful Sisters of the Holy Cross Ingenbohl sisters, cross sisters Ingenbohl (Switzerland) Switzerland 1856 SCSC
Franciscan Tertiary Sisters of St. John Gnadenthal sisters Ingolstadt Southern Germany 1276
Third Order Nurses innsbruck
Franciscan Sisters of the Crescentia Monastery Kreszentia Sisters of Kaufbeuren Kaufbeuren Germany, Croatia, Bosnia 1315
Franciscan Sisters Kleve 4 houses in the diocese of Münster 1923
Francis Sisters Krefeld several houses in North Rhine-Westphalia 1919
Sisters of the Third Order Kronburg (Austria) 1867
Solanus Sisters Landshut Germany, China, South Africa 1926
Sisters of the Immaculate Conception Leitershofen
Franciscan Sisters of Linz Linz (Austria)
Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Love Lüdinghauser / Nonnenwerther Franciscan Sisters Heythuysen (Netherlands) / Lüdinghausen and Nonnenwerth near Remagen Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Belarus, Indonesia, East Timor, Philippines, USA, Tanzania, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil 1835 OSF
Sisters of Saint Elizabeth Elisabethinnen Luxembourg City Luxembourg, Germany
Franciscan Sisters of Mercy Luxembourg Franciscan Sisters Luxembourg City Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Taiwan 1848
Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family Mallersdorfer Sisters Mallersdorf-Pfaffenberg Germany, Romania, South Africa 1855 OSF
Sisters of the Holy Cross Teaching Sisters of the Holy Cross, Menzing Sisters Menzingen (Switzerland) Switzerland, Germany 1844
Franciscan Sisters of Mindelheim Mindelheim Germany 1456
Nurses from the Regulated Third Order of St. Francis Mauritz Franciscan Sisters, Franciscan Sisters of Münster-St. Mauritz St. Mauritz ( Münster -St. Mauritz) Germany, USA, Netherlands, Poland, Haiti, Tanzania, Japan, India 1844 OSF
Missionary Sisters of Münster (Bäckergasse) Muenster 1910
Congregation of the School Sisters of St. Francis School Sisters, Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King Mostar (Bosnia) Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Germany 1869
Kreszentia sisters Munich 1860
Blue Sisters of St. Elisabeth Munich just a convention 1901/1951
Sisterhood of Sick Care of the Third Order Munich Southern Germany 1902

N to Z

official name of the congregation other common names Motherhouse / Provincial Office More branches founding year Seal
Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Neuss Germany FMM
Franciscan Sisters of Renewal new York United States 1988
Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Love Nonnenwerther / Lüdinghauser Franciscan Sisters Heythuysen (Netherlands) / Nonnenwerth near Remagen and Lüdinghausen Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Belarus, Indonesia, East Timor, Philippines, USA, Tanzania, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil 1835 OSF
Sisters of the Divine Redeemer Niederbronn sisters Oberbronn (Alsace) Germany, Angola, Argentina, France, Cameroon, India, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal 1849
Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at Olpe Olper Franciscan Sisters Olpe Germany, North America, Philippines, Brazil 1860 OSF
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Franciscan Sisters of Calais Paris France, Germany, Madagascar, Portugal 1854
Ramersdorf Franciscan Sisters Ramersdorf-Perlach 1623
Poor Franciscan Sisters on Reutberg Reutberg near Sachsenkam Germany 1618
Sisters of Christian Mercy Franciscans of Reute Tail Germany, Indonesia, Brazil 1403/1853 OSF
Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Clare Monastery of St. Anna, Riedenburg Riedenburg (Lower Bavaria) 1860
School Sisters of the 3rd Order of St. Francis Hallein school sisters Salzburg (Austria) Austria, Bolivia, Argentina, USA 1723/1823 HSF
Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Salzkotten Franciscanae Cordis Jesu et Mariae Salzkotten Germany, Romania, Malawi 1860 FCJM
Congregation of the Servants of Divine Providence Franciscan Sisters of Schönbrunn Schönbrunn (Röhrmoos) Germany 1911
Franciscan Sisters of Eternal Adoration Schwäbisch Gmünd Germany 1902
Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph Joseph Sisters Schweich near Trier, Valkenburg (NL) Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Angola, Honduras, Brazil 1867 FSJ
Franciscan Sisters of Sießen Sießen Franciscan Sisters They eat Baden-Württemberg, Brazil, South Africa 1854 OSF
Sisterhood of Seraphic Love Work Solothurn (Switzerland) 1924
Franciscan Sisters of St. Martyr Georg Thuin Franciscan Sisters Thuine Northern Germany, Netherlands, Japan, USA, Indonesia, Tanzania, Brazil, Papua New Guinea 1869 FMA
St. Joseph Congregation Ursberg Franciscan Sisters of Ursberg, Congregatio Sancti Josephi Ursberg Germany, Romania 1897 CSJ
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Fourteen Saints Vierzehnheiligen near Bad Staffelstein Germany, Peru, India 1890
Poor School Sisters of the 3rd Order of St. Francis Seraphicus School sisters, Franciscans of Vöcklabruck Vöcklabruck (Austria) Austria, Germany, USA, Kazakhstan 1861
Franciscan Sisters of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of the Angels Waldbreitbach Franciscan Sisters Waldbreitbach Germany, USA, Netherlands, Brazil 1863 FBMVA
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Love Hartmann sisters Vienna Austria, Italy, Argentina, Paraguay 1857 SFCC
Franciscan School Sisters Vienna 1845
Daughters of Christian Love Vienna 1848
Missionaries of Mary Vienna
Servants of the holy childhood of Jesus of the Third Order of St. Francis Oberzell Franciscan Sisters, Zeller Sisters Zell am Main near Würzburg Germany, South Africa 1855
Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Maria Stern Wurzburg Germany
Sisters of Our Lady Zug (Switzerland) 1933


  • Herbert Grundmann : Religious Movements in the Middle Ages. Studies on the historical connections between heresy, the mendicant orders and the religious women's movement in the 12th and 13th centuries and on the historical basis of German mysticism (historical studies; vol. 267). 4th edition. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1977 (unchanged reprint from EA Berlin 1935; plus habilitation thesis, University of Leipzig 1933; contains the article below)
  • Herbert Grundmann: New contributions to the history of religious movements in the Middle Ages . In: Archiv für Kulturgeschichte , Vol. 37 (1955), pp. 129-182, ISSN  0003-9233
  • Ecclesia Catholica (Ed.): Annuario Pontificio . Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Rome ISBN 88-209-7678-1 (annually published register and statistics on the Roman Catholic world church)
  • Lothar Hardick OFM: The renewed rule of the Regulated Third Order of St. Francis. In: Science and Wisdom. Bd. 51, 1988, pp. 160-184, now also in: Dieter Berg (Ed.): Spiritualität und Geschichte. Ceremony for Lothar Hardick OFM on his 80th birthday. , Werl 1993, ISBN 3-87163-195-7 , pp. 227-248.

Web links

Individual evidence

  2. Our History - Franciscan Sisters . In: Franciscan Sisters . ( [accessed on April 5, 2017]).
  3. ^ Archbishopric Berlin: Franciscan Sisters of Münster-Mauritz. Retrieved April 5, 2017 .