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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > D > Sisters of Divine Providence

Sisters of Divine Providence

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Sisters of the Divine Providence of St. Vincent de Paul

Founded at Molsheim, in Diocese of Strasburg, by Vicar Ludwig Kremp (1783). After the Revolution the community reassembled at Bindernheim and, in 1807, received both ecclesiastical and civil approbation, the former from Archbishop of Strasburg, the latter from Napoleon I. In 1819, the mother-house was definitely located at Rappoltsweiler, and in 1869 the institute received papal confirmation. The congregation has (1908) 1800 members, over 1200 of them teachers in 357 primary schools of Alsace. The sisters have over 44,000 children under instruction; they conduct boarding and day schools, orphan asylums, reformatories, a housekeeping school, a high school for girls, and a deaf and dumb institution. Attached to the novitiate are a teacher's seminary and practice school.

The Society of Divine Providence

Founded, in 1842, at St. Mauritz near Münster by Eduard Michelis, chaplain and private secretary to Archbishop Droste zu Vischering of Cologne. He shared the imprisonment of his Archbishop and on his return went to St. Mauritz, where, with the help of two other priests, he founded an orphan asylum. He selected several teachers whom he sent to the Sisters of Divine Providence at Rappoltsweiler to be trained in the religious life. The rule followed there was adopted with a few alterations by the new community and received episcopal approbation. The congregation took as its special work the care of the poor, neglected, and orphaned children, as well as teaching in general. In 1878 the work of the sisters was interrupted by the Kulturkampf, and they were forced to take refuge at Steyl, Holland. In 1887, when they resumed their work in Germany, the mother-house was removed to Friedrichsburg near Münster, where a boarding and a trade school were opened. In the city of Münster the sisters have charge of the domestic management of five episcopal institution, and in the city and diocese they conduct boarding schools, orphan asylums, protectories, trade schools, elementary schools, Sunday schools, a working women's home (Rheine) and a Magdelen asylum (at Marienburg). In Bremen they direct an elementary school, Sunday school, and orphanage. The congregation has 50 branch houses in Germany, and 14 in Holland, among the latter the convent of St. Joseph at Steyl, that of Maria-Roepaan at Ottersum, and of St. Aloysius at Kessel. In 1895 a colony of sisters went to Brazil, where they now have six institutions. The congregation numbers (1908) 1115 members.

Sisters of Divine Providence

Founded at Finthen near Mainz (whence they are sometimes called the Finthen Sisters) in 1851 by Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler. The first superior was sent to the Sisters of Divine Providence at Ribeauvillee, Alsace, to be formed in the religious life, and the rule followed there was made the basis of the new institute, which later received the papal approbation. The congregation was founded primarily for the work of teaching and for the care of the sick so far as consonant with their duties as teachers. The right of corporation was not obtained until 1858, but as early as 1856 the Finthen Sisters had charge of the orphan asylum of Neustadt. At the time of the Kulturkampf they had 21 foundations in the Grand Duchy of Hesse. When they were allowed to resume their activities they devoted themselves less to purely educational work and took charge of hospitals, children's asylums, homes for girls, industrial and housekeeping schools, orphan asylums, servant's homes, endowed infirmaries, and almshouses. Connected with the mother-house at Mainz are 76 branch houses with 730 members, 70 in the Diocese of Mainz, and 6 in that of Limburg. In Mainz the sisters conduct a boarding school with housekeeping and trade courses. At Oberursel they direct the Johannesstift for abandoned children founded by Joannes Janssen. Wherever these sisters have houses they care for the sick in their homes.

Sisters of Divine Providence

Mother-house at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. founded in 1876 by six sisters from Mainz (see III), who were later joined by other sisters from Mainz. The congregation now numbers about 200, in charge of 20 schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, one in Wheeling and 2 in the Columbus Diocese.

Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence

Founded in Lorraine, 1762, by the Venerable Jean-Martin Moye (b. 1730; d, 1793), priest of the Diocese of Metz, afterwards missionary to China, for "the propagation of the faith, the ensuring of a Christian education to children, especially those of the rural population, for the care of the sick, and other works of mercy". Approved by the Bishop of Metz in 1762, and recommended by the solicitude of his clergy, within six years the congregation had exceeded the limits of his diocese and planted itself on the banks of the Vosges. Marie Morel was the first superior. Suppressed in 1792, the congregation was re-established after the Revolution; in 1816 the Rules and Constitution were formally approved by Louis XVIII. The mother-house general is at St.-Jean-de-Bassel, in the Diocese of Metz, Lorraine, with establishments in Lorraine, Alsace, Belgium, and the United States. There are about 500 sisters in the Diocese of Metz, and 300 in the Diocese of Strasburg, who direct schools, boarding schools, industrial schools, domestic economy institutes, hospitals, etc. At St-Jean-de-Bassel there is a normal institute devoted exclusively to the training of the young teachers of the congregation, generally 185 in number, and connected with this institute is a model school, all under the supervision of the educational boards of the German Imperial Government. In Belgium there are about 100 sisters. At Pecq, near Tournai, they direct a normal school and a boarding school. Elsewhere they have charge of schools and kindergartens.

Sisters of Divine Providence

Of Kentucky; incorporated American provincial house at Mt. St. Martin's convent, Newport, Kentucky. Mother Anna Houlne, superior general (d. 1903) of the congregation succeeded in placing the Sisters of St-Jean-de-Bassel in the foremost ranks of teachers in Alsace-Lorraine, and then, Moye, long to see them labour for the Christian education of youth in America, where she rightly judged the labourers to be few. In 1888 Bishop Maes of Covington, Kentucky, visited the mother-house general at St-Jean-de-Bassel, and arranged to have the sisters introduced into his diocese. Accordingly, in August, 1889, three sisters arrived in Covington and took up residence in one of the historical mansions of northern Kentucky, now know as Mt. St. Martin's convent. The growth of the American branch has necessitated the building of a new convent. In October, 1908, a considerable estate was acquired at Melbourne, Kentucky, the site of a new St. Ann's Convent, where it is designed to erect the new provincial house. Mother Anna visited the American Province in 1892. There are 215 sisters; until 1903 occasional small colonies were added from the mother-house general; about one third of the subjects are American. At Mt. St. Martin's convent are the novitiate and normal school for the province. Teaching is primary object of the sisters. They conduct an academy and many parish schools, an infant asylum, a home for French emigrant and working girls, and a home for the aged. The sisters are working in the Diocese of Covington, Providence, and Cleveland, and the archdioceses of New York, Baltimore, and Cincinnati.

Sisters of Divine Providence

Founded at Castroville, Texas, U.S.A. 1868, by Sister St. Andrew from the mother-house at St-Jean-de-Bassel, Lorraine, at the instance of Bishop Dubuis of Galveston. In 1896 the mother-house was transferred to San Antonio. The Constitutions were approved by Pope Leo X, 28 May, 1907 (?) The sisters have charge (1908) of 67 schools and academies in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

Sisters of Divine Providence of St. Andrew

Founded at Hambourg-la-Forteresse, in 1806, by Father Anton Gapp, "for the Christian instruction of children in the primary schools and higher schools for girls". The congregation received the authorization of the French Government in 1826, and the mother-house was established at Forbach, Lorraine, but in 1839 was removed to Peltre. Destroyed in 1870 by the flames which swept the whole district, it was rebuilt after the close of the Franco-Prussian War. The congregation has now in Lorraine 138 institutions, among them 7 higher schools for girls, 20 trade and several housekeeping schools, and 9 hospitals. In Belgium they have 35 foundations. There are altogether 900 sisters, who teach 17,000 children in Lorraine and 4000 in Belgium.


CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE: Archives and Unpublished Annals of Congregation; Directoire des Soeurs de la Providence (St-Germain-en-Laye, 1858); Weyland, Une ame apotre (Metz, 1901); Marchal, Vie de M. l'Abbe Moye (Paris, 1872).
SISTERS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE OF ST. ANDREW: HEIMBUCHER, Die Orden und Kongregationem (Paderborn, 1908), III; IDEM in Kirchenlex., s.v. Vorschung.

About this page

APA citation. Rudge, F.M., Theresia, M., O'Brien, M.C., & Florence, M. (1909). Sisters of Divine Providence. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Rudge, F.M., Sister M. Theresia, Sister Mary Camillus O'Brien, and Mother Mary Florence. "Sisters of Divine Providence." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by JFM Freeman.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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