Our History

Our spirit and our ministry are rooted in the spirituality and outreach of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac who served in 17th century France.  Their ministries and vocations influenced women who came to the United States in subsequent years and began new religious communities.

Founded in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1858 by Mother Xavier Ross, our Community has deep roots in this Vincentian tradition.


“We must be firm as to the end;
meek and humble as to the means.”

--St. Vincent de Paul


Mother Xavier had responded to the initial request of Bishop John Baptist Miege, SJ, to “come north” to the Midwest from Nashville, Tenn. In succeeding years, Sisters of Charity journeyed in many different directions to serve. Our Sisters were teachers and nurses.  They established orphanages, schools and hospitals. They went to mining towns, big cities and small communities.

As times and opportunities to serve evolved, Sisters began to minister in social services, parishes, diocesan offices and other settings.  In the mid-1960s, we established missions in South America where we currently have native Peruvian Hermanas.

Today, our vision has become even more global as we partner to help improve the lives of refugees in Italy and the people of Haiti.

Look forward to the good that is yet to be.”
--Mother Xavier Ross, SCL

More complete histories of the SCL Community appear in:  
History of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, Sister Mary Buckner, SCL. Kansas City, Mo.:  Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Co., 1898.
We Came North, Centennial story of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Sister Julia Gilmore, SCL. St. Meinrad, Ill.:  Abbey Press, 1958.
•We Heard the Call, The History of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in Latin America, 1963-2003, Sister Rose Dolores Hoffelmeyer, SCL. 2005.
Emerging Frontiers, Renewal in the Life of Women Religious, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, 1955-2005, Sister Marie Brinkman, SCL. Mahwah, N.J.:  Paulist Press, 2008.


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