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On December 8th, we celebrate the 123rd anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. It was on this day on December 8th, 1894, that Josephine Dudzik established the congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Kunegunda (the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago’s original name) at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago. A generous, compassionate, and devout woman, Josephine was moved by the condition of the aged, poor, and orphaned whom she encountered. She came to their aid spiritually, physically, and emotionally, even sheltering some in her own family home. After establishing the congregation, Josephine would go on to take the name of Sister Mary Theresa Dudzik and later was given the honorary title of ‘Mother’ in 1948, 22 years after her death in 1918.

Since 1894, the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago have served in various ministries, including caring for the elderly and the sick in hospitals and nursing homes, operating child care centers, teaching in elementary, secondary schools and universities, pastoral care, social service work and sheltering victims of domestic violence.

Today, Franciscan Ministries, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, continues Venerable Mother Mary Theresa’s mission to serve those in need by providing high-quality senior living communities, post-acute services, including: home health care, skilled nursing and rehabilitative care, hospice care and child care, as well as a foundation for educating young women, and a family violence prevention center and shelter.

Click here to read more about the life of Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik
Click here to view a historical photo gallery timeline of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago