catholic sisters

From corn-husk shoes to old-time habits

Two Sisters of St. Mary (later Franciscan Sisters of Mary) worked in the pharmacy at St. Mary’s Infirmary in the 1900s. St. Mary’s Infirmary was the first hospital opened by the congregation in 1887.

By the time of the St. Louis Public Library's founding in 1865, Catholic sisters had already been at work for nearly a half-century in St. Louis.

Starting in 1818 with the Society of the Sacred Heart and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, women religious came from across the pond to educate immigrants' children and care for poor, ill or otherwise vulnerable members of society. Along with men religious, they arrived in such numbers that St. Louis became known as the "Rome of the West," reminiscent of the Vatican.

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