Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis
The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (SSJ-TOSF) is a Roman Catholic Franciscan religious congregation for women. The Congregation was established in 1901. Their motherhouse is in Stevens Point, Wisconsin in the Diocese of La Crosse.
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The Congregation was founded on July 1, 1901, by 46 former members of the School Sisters of St. Francis who wished to see to the educational needs of the children of Polish immigrants. They began in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, under the name "Polish Sisters of St. Joseph".
By 1926 sisters were serving in 49 schools in five states. Provinces were established in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois. The sisters expanded their work to health care in 1938 with the opening of River Pines Sanitorium outside of Stevens Point. They subsequently operated hospitals and nursing facilities in Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In 1945 the name of the congregation was changed to the "Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis".
In 1962 sisters were sent to Puerto Rice and Peru, in 1971 to Brazil, and in 1981 to South Africa. In 1967 the Rice Lake Franciscan Sisters merged with the SSJ-TOSF; 32 sisters joined the Chicago Province. In 1990 one centralized governance structure replaced the former three provinces. The Central Service Offices were located to St. Joseph Motherhouse in Stevens Point.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis sponsor Trinity High School (Garfield Heights, Ohio), Regina High School (Warren, Michigan), and the Bartlett Learning Center, Inc.: Bartlett, Illinois.
Sisters now work in housing, respite care, and care for the developmentally challenged. Almost 400 members serve in fourteen states and three countries.
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