Brief History of the Province

In September of 1858, eight Franciscan friars from the German province of the Holy Cross arrived in the United States.  They were entrusted with the care of the German-speaking immigrants in the village of Teutopolis, IL.  In 1875 and 1876, 99 friars and 22 candidates followed the first Franciscan pioneers in response to the Kulturkampf imposed by Otto von Bismarck.
St. Joseph Theological Seminary,
Teutopolis, IL

In short order, the friars moved to Quincy, St. Louis, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Dubuque, and Memphis as well as smaller communities in Nebraska, Minnesota, and northern Wisconsin.

Through the history of the Province, the friars have been actively engaged in the education apostolate.  The friars opened and staffed schools in Teutopolis, Quincy, Chicago, and Cleveland.

The Sacred Heart Province has been committed to missionary service ever since the first friars came as missionaries to the United States.  Through the years, the friars have served Native American, African American, and Hispanic communities in the United States.  In addition, the friars have worked in China, Brazil, and Siberia.  Today we continue to have friars in Brazil, Alaska, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand, and Vietnam.

While the friars of the Sacred Heart Province continue to work in missions, parishes, and schools, we are also involved in a wide range of other ministries including art, music, retreats, prison ministry, and chaplaincies.

There are senior friars in residence in many of our friaries, but the Province also has residences for our aging and infirm friars in Crowley, TX; Alton, IL; and Manitowoc, WI.

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