Our History

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For over 130 years, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Rochester, Minnesota have pledged themselves to be faithful to the call of God and to each other.

  • In 1877, Sister Mary Alfred Moes (shown right), along with her birth sister, Sister Barbara Moes, and 23 other Franciscan Sisters from Joliet, Illinois, came to Rochester, Minnesota, to establish a new community of Franciscan Sisters ready to serve as teachers.
  • In 1883, Rochester was hit by a devastating tornado. The Franciscan Sisters provided care for the victims. Seeing the necessity for health care in the Rochester area, Mother Alfred persisted until Dr. William Worrall Mayo agreed to serve as director of a hospital to be built by the Sisters.
  • Established in 1889, Saint Marys Hospital was on the cutting edge of health care. Today, Saint Marys is part of the Mayo Clinic, serving people from all over the world.
  • The Sisters also continued their work in education, staffing parochial schools in Minnesota and beyond, while also establishing academies in Owatonna and Rochester. Their work included post-secondary education, and in 1894, they founded what would become the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota.
  • After the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), many Sisters entered into areas of social service, spiritual care and went into service abroad. Others continued their ministries in health care and education.
  • The value of the work of the Sisters' teaching cannot be overestimated. The education they provided in these institutions made those they taught ready to pick up the reins and fill the needs of the parishes after Vatican II.
  • The Sisters continue to be involved in the world, partnering with the poor and vulnerable, offering a voice on behalf of those who have none. They are diverse in their personalities and ministries, yet are united by faith in God, the Franciscan tradition, and the heritage of service passed on to them by their Foundress, Mother Alfred Moes.

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