History

Pioneer beginnings transformed into history of service

The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth trace our roots to the spirit, spirituality and outreach of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac who served in 17th century France. Their ministries and vocations influenced the founding of several communities of women religious in the United States. Founded in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1858 by Mother Xavier Ross, our SCL Community has deep roots in this Vincentian tradition.

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Fall 1858

Bishop John Baptist Miege invites Mother Xavier Ross and the Sisters of Charity to “Come north” from Nashville to the pioneer territory for which he was responsible.

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Nov. 11, 1858

First Sisters of Charity arrive in Leavenworth, Kan.

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March 8, 1859

Sisters open St. Mary’s Academy for Young Ladies, Leavenworth.

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March 15, 1864

Sisters open St. John’s Hospital, Leavenworth, the first civilian hospital in the territory of Kansas.

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1869

The first group of Sisters respond to the call to serve in Helena, Mont. In subsequent years, the SCLs establish ministries or serve in California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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1870

St. Mary’s Academy opens at a new site in Leavenworth (location of current University of Saint Mary); operates as a high school until 1950.

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Jan. 6, 1916

The SCLs dedicate Annunciation Chapel in Leavenworth.

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Sept. 10, 1923

SCLs open St. Mary’s Junior College in Leavenworth.

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1930

St. Mary’s expands to a four-year college.

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Nov. 11, 1940

Community dedicates new Mother House.

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Nov. 8, 1963

SCLs establish their first Latin American mission in Peru. In subsequent years, SCLs serve in Bolivia, Ecuador and Guatemala.

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1965

The Community dedicates Ross Hall as the retirement center at the Mother House for SCLs.

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Dec. 12, 1972

Hospitals formerly operated by the Sisters are organized into a separately incorporated health system.

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1981

First Peruvian young woman enters the South American novitiate.

 

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1988

SCLs begin Associate program.

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1995

SCL Community joins Federation of Congregations of Charity, network of other Sisters of Charity with Vincentian roots (today’s Charity Federation).

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2003

New Marillac Retreat Center opens on Mother House campus

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March 2005

Hermana Susana Córdova becomes the first Peruvian Director of the Latin American Missions.

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2006

Cristo Rey Kansas City High School begins as newest SCL sponsored ministry.

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May 4, 2006

SCLs and Hermanas dedicate Centro San Vicente de Paul in Piura, Peru.

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2011

SCLs name Terri Butel first lay director of SCL Associates.

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2011

First SCL responds to call for mission service in South Sudan.

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Sept. 25, 2011

SCLs transfer sponsorship of Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System to Leaven Ministries, new public juridic person.

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Sept. 30, 2015

New Ross Hall opens.

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2017

SCL Community participates in international observance of 400th anniversary of Vincentian charism.

2018

The SCL Community celebrates the 160th Anniversary of the pioneer Sisters arriving in Leavenworth.

More complete histories of the SCL Community appear in:

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