St. Louis, MO
The Sisters of Divine Providence first came to St. Louis, Missouri in 1879, just three years after the community's arrival in the United States. They moved west in order to teach, specifically the children of German immigrants in St. Louis. They staffed St. Francis de Sales School from 1879-1903.
For the next several decades, the community staffed and operated primary schools in the Dioceses of Belleville, Illinois, Springfield, Illinois, Shreveport, Louisiana, Springfield/Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Jefferson City, Missouri and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and in parts of Kansas as well.
In 1920, the congregation paid $50,000 to purchase St. Elizabeth Hospital in Granite City, Illinois. The Sisters of Divine Providence owned, operated and staffed the hospital until 2001, when it was sold and renamed Gateway Regional Medical Center.
In 1930, the St. Louis Province of the Sisters of Divine Providence was established, with Mother M. Rosalia Weaver as Provincial. The congregation was formally welcomed into the Archdiocese of St. Louis by Archbishop John J. Glennon, who shared the Sisters' objective of establishing a boarding school for boys.
In 1932, the community purchased an estate in Normandy, Missouri that would become Mount Providence, and serve as both the provincial motherhouse and the boarding school for boys in kindergarten through grade 8. Mount Providence School for Boys opened in January, 1933. It would quickly grow to a complex of three dormitories, nine classrooms, three cafeterias, a library, recreation area, craft room, band room, music room, guest rooms and reception rooms. More importantly, it would educate young boys-and beginning in 1988, girls as well-with a maximum enrollment of more than 300 students. At different points in its history Mount Providence would also be the home of an eldercare facility, a day care, and Catholic Charities' Villa Maria, a shelter for pregnant women and their children.
As a religious community, the Sisters of Divine Providence are committed to aiding the homeless. In 1989, the Sisters of Divine Providence opened La Posada Providencia, a shelter in San Benito, Texas for people seeking legal refuge in the United States. In 1993, they began full sponsorship of Room at the Inn, a shelter for homeless women and families in St. Louis County. The congregation continues to sponsor both of these ministries today.
It was determined in the early 1990s that the St. Louis Province could no longer afford to maintain Mount Providence. The property was sold to the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1995, and Mount Providence School closed the following year. The Sisters moved out of the Motherhouse in 1997. In February 2001, the buildings were imploded to make way for the redirection of a dangerous stretch of Interstate 70.
Also in 2001, the St. Louis Province united with the Provinces in Pittsburgh and New England, the region of Puerto Rico and their mission in the Dominican Republic to become the Marie de la Roche Province. There are more than 225 Sisters in the united Province.
With offices at Providence Center in Bridgeton, Missouri, the Sisters of Divine Providence continue to be a vital presence in the St. Louis metropolitan area and southeastern Illinois. Today, there are 35 Sisters of Divine Providence in the St. Louis area. Ten of the Sisters live together in prayer ministry and semi-retirement at St. Clare's Villa in Alton, Illinois. There are also Sisters from the St. Louis area working in other parts of the country, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Tennessee. Sisters of Divine Providence work in ministries both traditional (teaching, nursing, pastoral ministry) and non-traditional (as canon lawyers, spiritual directors, pilgrimage guides). They continue to be an important part of our church and our community, always striving to make God's Providence more visible in our world.
St. Louis Ministries
Sisters of Divine Providence from the St. Louis area have ministered as teachers and principals at the following Catholic schools:
- Annunciation School, California, Missouri
- Ascension School, Normandy, Missouri
- Divine Providence School, Westchester, Illinois
- Holy Angels School, Kinloch, Missouri
- Immaculate Conception School, Springfield, Missouri
- Marillac College, Paul VI Institute, St. Louis
- Mary, Queen of the Universe School, Lemay, Missouri
- Mercy High School, Florissant, Missouri
- Mount Providence School, Normandy, Missouri
- North American Martyrs School, Florissant
- Sisters of Divine Providence at St. Andrew's School, Tipton, Missouri
- Sacred Heart School, Florissant, Missouri
- Sacred Heart School, Sedalia, Missouri
- St. Ambrose School, Chaffee, Missouri
- St. Dominic Savio School, St. Louis, Missouri
- St. Elizabeth School, Granite City, Illinois
- St. Francis de Sales School, St. Louis
- St. Francis/Holy Ghost School, Jerseyville, Illinois
- St. Genevieve du Bois School, St. Louis, Missouri
- St. John School, Imperial, Missouri
- St. John LaLande School, Blue Springs, Missouri
- St. Joseph School, Meppen, Illinois
- St. Louis School, Bonnot's Mill, Missouri
- St. Mark School, Venice, Illinois
- St. Mary-St. Mark School, Madison/Venice, Illinois
- St. Mary's School, Centralia, Illinois
- St. Mary's School, Madison, Illinois
- St. Mary's School, Brussels , Illinois
- St. Mary's Special School, St. Louis
- St. Pius X School, Shreveport, Louisiana
- St. Stanislaus School, Wardsville, Missouri
- Villa St. Joseph Child Care Education Center, Ferguson, Missouri
St. Louis, MO