Sisters of St. Francis to celebrate 150th

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities will begin a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of their presence in the Diocese of Syracuse during a Eucharistic liturgy at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, 2010 at St. Anthony chapel in Syracuse with Retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Costello presiding.

Since their foundation, the Sisters of St. Francis have reached out world-wide, dedicating their lives to serving the needs of others through health care, education, parish ministry, retreat work, missions and social ministries.

“The sisters are alive and well and continue to be a presence in the Diocese of Syracuse. This is a celebration of praise and the gratitude we have toward the people we have served,” said Sister Patricia Burkard, community minister.

Throughout the year, the Sisters of St. Francis will host several events honoring the monumental contributions of sisters past and present including a concluding liturgy of thanksgiving Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with Bishop Robert J. Cunningham presiding.

Founded as the Sisters of the Third Order of Syracuse, N.Y. in 1860 by Mother Bernardina Dorn, the congregation united with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Virgin of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., and the Sisters of St. Francis Third Order Regular of Buffalo (Williamsville Franciscans) to form the new congregation, Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities on July 12, 2004. This marked the first union of Franciscan communities in the U.S. In August 2007, the Sisters of St. Francis of Millvale, Pa. merged with the Syracuse-based congregation, making it one of the largest Franciscan communities in the nation.

The four former communities grew out of the same Philadelphia congregation that Sister Mary Francis Bachmann, Sister Mary Margaret Boll and Sister Bernardina Dorn founded with the guidance of St. John Neumann (then bishop of Philadelphia) in 1855.

The congregation is comprised of 529 sisters who serve in 32 dioceses and archdioceses around the world, including Hawaii , East Africa, Peru and Puerto Rico. .

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