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Our Founding

Father Caspar Rehrl

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.

Mother Agnes Hazotte & Father Francis Haas, OFM Cap.

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.

Virtual History Wall

The physical history wall can be found outside of Founder's Hall in the motherhouse. Click here to view the history wall as a PDF.

Archive Video Compilation

This compilation of films from the 1940s and the late 1970s was digitized in December 2022 from 8 reels in the CSA archives.

Click the "Watch on YouTube" button to easily jump around in the video and use the comment section to add your insights on who you spot in the films (if possible, include the timestamp of when you spotted them) or stories you remember from those days long ago.

Celebrating 150 Years in Fond du Lac

In 2020, CSA celebrated 150 years of being part of the Fond du Lac community. The congregation's legacy in Fond du Lac can be seen throughout the community in the form of historic buildings and modern service agencies.  

"Gratitude for the Past, Hope for the Future:
CSA in Fond du Lac, 1870-2020."

Presentation created by Jenny Lukomski, CSA Archivist, for the Fond du Lac Public Library's History at Home program.
Premiered on September 17, 2020 on Facebook Live.

Virtual Experiences
Read the Rest of the Story

Ordinary Sisters, published in 2007, is the story of one congregation of women religious and of the women who made such communities possible. These women staffed the parochial schools in America, founded and administered hospitals and colleges, and worked with the marginalized and the poor in their own country and in foreign lands. No task was too difficult or menial if it furthered the work of God. 

Ordinary Sisters - A Story of the Sisters of St. Agnes in Latin America, 1945-1995 features stories from the first 50 years of serving in Nicaragua and other Latin American countries. Published in 2019, it highlights the work of the sisters throughout the consistent political conflicts, the changes that came from the Second Vatican Council, and the difficulties of blending the cultures of Nicaragua, Miskito, the US, and CSA.

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