Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia, trace our origins
and spirit to six women who came together in 1650 in war-ravaged
LePuy, France with great desires for union with God, among
themselves and with their neighbors. Encouraged and aided
by Jesuit Jean Pierre Medaille, they were among the first
to create religious life for women outside cloister.
Our Congregation flourished until the end
of the eighteenth century when the French Revolution dispersed
or imprisoned our sisters. Five sisters were guillotined
but on the eve of her execution Mother St. John Fontbonne
was spared. In 1807 she began the work of refounding our
Congregation in Lyon. In 1836, in response to needs of
the Church in the Missouri mission, she sent six sisters
to St. Louis. From this foundation, sisters like Julie
Fournier spread all over the United States and Canada.
three sisters, Mother Saint John Fournier left St. Louis
in 1847 to administer Saint John’s Orphanage for
Boys in Philadelphia. Their generosity in responding to
each new call for assistance prompted Bishop Kenrick to
describe them as sisters “ready for any good work.”
In that spirit we continue to respond to the sufferings
and injustices of each particular time and place.
Today, our Congregation numbers more than
1100 women serving largely in the Middle Atlantic states
and in many other areas from Alaska to Peru.