Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother

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The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother are a Catholic congregation of Franciscan religious sisters founded in Rome, Italy, in 1883, who serve worldwide, particularly in the field of healthcare.


The congregation was founded at the initiative of Father Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan, founder of what was to become the Society of the Divine Savior, commonly known as the Salvatorians, as the female community of the Society. Jordan invited a young woman, Amalia Streitel (1844-1911), then a Carmelite nun in Germany, who had already been a Franciscan teaching Sister, to move to Rome to lead this effort. She left Germany for Italy, where she received the religious habit of the new Society and the religious name of Mother Frances of the Cross on 16 February 1883. She arrived to find that the housing Jordan had procured for her was an apartment lacking furniture and cooking utensils. As she was joined by other women, the Sisters took in orphans of the city, caring for them in their own apartment.[1]

Differences in vision arose between the two and in 1885, the Sisters separated from the Salvatorians.[2] The 36 women who formed the community then went under the authority of the Diocese of Rome and were given the name by which they are now known.[1] The congregation took the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis at that time, combining a life of service with that of contemplation. To support themselves, the Sisters provided home nursing care and worked in the sacristy of the Church of Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto dei Teutonici, the German national church of Rome.[3]

In 1890 Streitel arrived in the United States at the request of the Bishop of Wichita in Kansas, that the congregation take over a hospital there which was faltering. From there they expanded to Wisconsin, where they established a number of hospitals. A health resort was later opened in Denville, New Jersey, and a mission was opened in Oklahoma.[1]

Final approval of the congregation was received on 6 March 1911 by Pope Pius X, the same day that Streitel died in Castel Sant'Elia, Italy.

Current status[edit]

Today the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother serve in Italy, Austria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the United States, Grenada, St. Lucia, Tanzania and Trinidad and Tobago.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Foundress". Congregation of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.
  2. ^ "Our Founder". Society of the Divine Savior. Archived from the original on 2013-06-04.
  3. ^ "The Venerable Mother Frances Streitel". Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.
  4. ^ "SSM Today". Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.