- Sisters of St. Mary
Sisters of St. Mary (SSM) was a
Roman Catholicreligious order for women based in St. Louis, Missourithat founded hospitals throughout the Midwest. It is now called the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.
The order was founded in 1872 by Mother
Mary Odilia Bergerwho emigrated to St. Louis from Germany. It shared a door with St. Mary of Victories Church in downtown St. Louis.
Anna Katherine (later Mother Odilia) Berger was born in
Regen, Bavaria. In 1858 she joined the Poor Franciscans of Pirmasens, which later became the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, founded by Father (Dr.) Paul Joseph Nardini(scheduled to be beatifiedthis year); sent to beg in Paris.
In 1866 she co-founded the
Sister Servants of the Sacred Heartin Paris with Father Victor Braun, but had to flee Paris when the city was besieged during the Franco-Prussian War. After living several years in Elberfeldin the Rhineland, she emigrated to St. Louis in 1872. In St. Louis she founded the Sisters of St. Mary. In 1877 the order borrowed $16,000 to open St. Mary's Infirmary in St. Louis. In 1878 a third of the members of the order were sent to Canton, Mississippiand Memphis, Tennesseeduring a Yellow Feveroutbreak. Five sisters were to die.
Mary Augustine Giesenled six other sisters to Maryville, Missourifrom St. Louis where they formed the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryvilleand founded the first full fledged hospital in the town.
In 1985 the two orders merged to form the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.
20 hospitals now are operated as
SSM Health Care(SSMHC) in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
* [http://www.fsmonline.org/ Official website]
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