The Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, or Felician Sisters, are one branch of the Third Order of St. Francis. This active-contemplative religious institute was founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 1855, by Sophia Truszkowska, and named for a shrine of St. Felix, a 16th-century Franciscan saint especially devoted to children. The Felician Sisters have always sought to harmonize a deep spiritual and community life with dedication to diverse acts of mercy. In North America, the Felician Sisters have ministered primarily to Polish Americans since their arrival from Poland in 1874. The sisters provided social mobility for young Polish women. Although the congregation was involved in the care of orphans, the aged, and the sick, teaching remained its primary concern.
Most Felician Sisters maintain the religious garb of their Foundress, Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, consisting of a brown habit (beige during summer months), scapular, (jacket at specified times), headdress, black veil, collar, Felician wooden crucifix suspended on tape or cord, and simple ring received at final profession. This remains a discipline in the Kraków, Przemyśl and Warsaw provinces in Poland, and a treasured tradition in the former the Livonia and Enfield provinces in North America.
The charism of the institute is to imitate Blessed Mary Angela’s boundless love of God and surrender to God’s Will in compassionate service, total availability, concern for the salvation of all people.
As of the beginning of 2005, there were just under 2,000 professed members of the Felician Sisters.
- Immaculate Heart of Mary, Kraków, Poland (1861)
- Our Lady of Czestochowa, Przemyśl, Poland (1910)
- Our Lady Queen of Poland, Warsaw, Poland (1922)
- Nossa Senhora Aparecida, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil (1950)
- Our Lady Mediatrix of Graces, Rome, Italy (1953) (Generalate)
- Our Lady of Hope, North America (2009), an amalgamation of the following eight provinces:
- Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Livonia, Michigan USA (1874)
- Immaculate Heart of Mary, Buffalo, New York USA (1900)
- Mother of Good Counsel, Chicago, Illinois USA (1910)
- Immaculate Conception, Lodi, New Jersey USA (1913)
- Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania USA (1920)
- Our Lady of the Angels, Enfield, Connecticut USA (1932)
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rio Rancho, New Mexico USA (1953)
- Holy Name of Mary Mississauga, Ontario Canada (1964)
- Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska student of the Felicians who went on to become a religious Founder, Teacher, and Missionary
- St. Florian Church (Hamtramck, Michigan)
- St. Adalbert Parish, South Bend, Indiana
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (Wyandotte, Michigan)
- Thaddeus C. Radzialowski, "Reflections on the History of the Felicians in America," Polish American Studies (1975) 21#1 pp 19-28.
- Thaddeus C. Radzialowski, "Reflections on the History of the Felicians in America," Polish American Studies (1975) 21#1 pp 19-28