Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille

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The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille aka Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Bourg is a Roman Catholic congregation of women. Its forebearer, the The Congregation of Sisters of Saint Joseph was started in Le Puy, France by the Jesuit Jean Paul Médaille and accepted by the bishop, Mgr. de Maupas, on October 15, 1650. The Congregation of Saint Joseph was disbanded during the French Revolution. It was revived in 1807 at Lyon, during the Napoleonic regime through the efforts of Cardinal Fesch and Mother Saint John Fontbonne.


In 1819 a foundation from the mother house in Lyon was established in the Diocese of Belley under the leadership of Mother Saint Joseph Chaney. In 1823 the sisters of the diocese formally separated from Lyon. They became a new independent diocesan congregation under the leadership of Reverend Mother Saint Benoit Cornillon and direction of Bishop Alexander Devie.

Sisters were sent from Bourg to establish house in the United States. By 1962, the Bourg Congregation had six provinces, three in Europe and three in the United States, with missions in Africa and Latin America.

In July 1977, the six provinces voted to become two separate congregations, one based in Europe, the other in America. On November 30, 1977, Rome officially declared the three America provinces to be a new Congregation in the Church: the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille. The name Medaille was chosen because it is the family name of the Jesuit priest who helped found the Sisters in 1650 and because the Sisters were geographically located in the north, central and southern areas of the United States. Sister Janet Roesener of Cincinnati, Ohio was chosen the first superior general.

In 1986 and in 1994 decisions were made to merge the three provinces into five regions headed by a Congregational Leadership Office composed of a president and three general councilors, in Cincinnati. The five regions consist of Baton Rouge, Cincinnati, Crookston, New Orleans, and the Twin Cities.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille and six other Sisters of Saint Joseph congregations in the central United States announced they will form an entirely new congregation that will be called the Congregation of Saint Joseph. The new congregation will become a reality in April 2007 following completion of the necessary documentation and final approval from Rome. The seven founding congregations are the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Wichita, Kansas; Cleveland, Ohio; LaGrange, Illinois; Tipton, Indiana; Nazareth, Michigan; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Medaille, with centers in Louisiana, Cincinnati and Minnesota. The new congregation is expected to have a total membership of 891 vowed religious women and 548 non-vowed men and women associates when established in 2007.


The general aim of these sisters is the glory of God through the sanctification of its members by means of the three vows. The special objective is the salvation and service of others through works of charity: elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, and social services.


The formation begins with a nine-month postulancy followed by a two-year novitiate. During the postulancy and the second year of novitiate an integrated liberal arts college program is simultaneously initiated with a thorough spiritual foundation. After first profession the first level of education is completed before entering into the apostolate.


Schools Location Gender Established
St. Joseph's Academy Cincinnati, Ohio Women's 1915–1951
Archbishop McNicholas (formerly St. Joe's) Cincinnati, Ohio Co-Educational 1951–Present
St. Joseph's Academy (Baton Rouge) Baton Rouge, Louisiana Women's 1868–present

Well-known members[edit]

Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

External links[edit]

  • Congregation of St. Joseph [1]