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Nurturing Bright Futures

The School Sisters of St. Francis believe that every child has a right to an education, regardless of gender, class, or religion. We help students develop in their consciousness of human dignity, and nurture their growth in knowledge and social sensitivity.

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Chapel Garden Apartment

Why this order of Catholic sisters converted their Milwaukee convent into affordable apartments

Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

For the School Sisters of St. Francis, each room of their cavernous, four-story convent on Milwaukee’s south side brings up memories.

One room used to be an art gallery. Another, a children’s daycare. A room with floor-to- ceiling shelves once served as a library for a precursor to Alverno College. A nearby outbuilding with a basketball court was where 85-year-old Sister Joann Riesterer used to take gym classes.

Now, developers have renovated the historic St. Joseph Convent into 63 affordable apartments for the public. There are four townhomes for families and 59 units for people ages 55 and up.

“We want to remain grounded in our neighborhood, and we want our properties to meet the needs of those who have needs,” said Sister Deborah Fumagalli, president of the international School Sisters of St. Francis congregation.

Since 1886, the School Sisters’ international headquarters has been based at its campus at South Layton Boulevard and West Greenfield Avenue. At the order’s peak in the 1950s, it was the largest congregation of Franciscan women in the world, Fumagalli said. But in recent years, faced with an aging — and dwindling — population in the U.S., the sisters took a hard look at their future.

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St. Joseph Chapel

St. Joseph Chapel

Since the School Sisters of St. Francis opened the doors of St. Joseph Chapel more than a century ago, this Milwaukee landmark has been dedicated to the permanent service of God. Our sacred space has nourished the lives of thousands of religious women who have prayed here daily, and today we welcome you to join us for religious services, private devotion, tours, and concerts.
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Associate Clara Isom in Mississippi

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The School Sisters of St. Francis live the Good News of Jesus and witness to the presence of God as we enter into the lives and needs of people around the world, especially those who are poor. We strive to be a source of new life, new meaning and new hope.  Our Vision is a world transformed through peace, justice and love.

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United States

United States

The School Sisters of St. Francis meet the needs of the times in the United States through their varied ministries.

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Latin America

Latin America

Today our sisters of the Latin American Region serve in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.

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Europe

Europe

Today our sisters of the European Province serve in Germany and Switzerland.     

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India

India

In India, the School Sisters of St. Francis have served those in need since the 1930s. In October 2015, the School Sisters of St. Francis’ Assisi Province in southern India launched a new mission to Tanzania.

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