The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes was founded in Barton, Wisconsin, on August 12, 1858. Father Caspar Rehrl, an Austrian missionary, established a sisterhood of pioneer women under the patronage of St. Agnes of Rome to whom he had a special devotion. At first the group suffered such untold hardship that, for a few months in 1861, it was reduced to one blind sister.
The arrival of Mary Hazotte in 1863 gave the fledgling community a new life and leadership when she, in 1864 at the age of 17, was elected general superior. Mother Agnes Hazotte directed the move from Barton to Fond du Lac, WI, in 1870 and served as the community's leader until her death in 1905. In 1870, Father Francis Haas, OFM Capuchin, became the spiritual director of the community and assisted in revising the original rule.
These three founders paved the ways for growth and expansion. Today the Sisters of St. Agnes minister with simplicity, hospitality, and missionary zeal in the United States and Latin America.