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Our Founding

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.

 

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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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