The origin of the Franciscan movement can be traced back to Saint Francis and Saint Clare, two well-known and beloved saints from Assisi. One of many groups to have been inspired by Saint Francis and Saint Clare is the Franciscan Sisters of Peace. In 1865, three Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart came from their motherhouse in Gemona, Italy, to New York City to minister to the needs of German immigrants. The community flourished and engaged in new ministries that responded to the needs of the times, particularly in education and child care.
Like other religious communities, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart were deeply influenced by Vatican Council II, and devoted themselves to the renewal called for by the Council. The General Chapter of 1969 inaugurated the practice of Provincial Chapters. In a series of Provincial Chapters, the American Province strove to articulate and embody the Council’s spirit of renewal and reform. The ensuing years led to a rediscovery of their Franciscan charism and to new ways of embodying it in today’s world.
As a result of prayer, study, conversation, and the working of the Holy Spirit, a significant number of sisters became aware that their identity as a religious institute was distinct from that of the larger congregation. This conviction led to the founding of a new religious institute in the Archdiocese of New York. On October 4, 1986, 112 of these vowed women co-founded the Franciscan Sisters of Peace. This was celebrated on November 29, 1986 with a liturgy in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in which the Sisters transferred their vows to the new institute. They are rooted in the spirit, faith and trust in the Lord, characteristic of Francis, Clare, and the first three pioneering sisters. The Franciscan Sisters of Peace strive to bring their particular charism and gift of peacemaking to all with whom and to whom they minister.
The Franciscan Sisters of Peace are an Institute of Diocesan Right. Their Congregation Center is located in Haverstraw, New York. They are engaged in a variety of ministries, including teaching; religious education; pastoral ministry in parishes, nursing homes, and correctional facilities; spiritual direction; administration on diocesan and archdiocesan levels; social work; hospice nursing care; inner-city housing programs; after-school programs; global evangelization; outreach on behalf of detainees seeking asylum; and counseling traumatized children.